The components of MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) signalling pathways can assemble into complexes that are co-ordinated by regulatory proteins including scaffold proteins. There is increasing evidence that scaffold proteins (i) maintain signalling specificity and facilitate the activation of pathway components, (ii) localize pathway components to particular subcellular sites or to specific targets, and (iii) serve as a point of signal integration to allow regulation of MAPK pathways by other signalling events in the cell. One family of scaffold proteins that regulate signalling by stress-activated MAPKs are the JIPs [JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase)-interacting proteins]. JIP proteins have been demonstrated to form complexes with specific JNK and p38 MAPK signalling modules and to play important roles in brain development, neuronal trafficking, apoptosis, β-cell function and insulin responses. Here, I briefly review our current understanding of the biochemical properties and physiological roles of JIP proteins.

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