Fas is a cell surface death receptor that signals apoptosis. Several proteins have been identified that bind to the cytoplasmic death domain of Fas. Fas-associated death domain (FADD), which couples Fas to procaspase-8, and Daxx, which couples Fas to the Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase pathway, bind independently to the Fas death domain. We have identified a 130-kD kinase designated Fas-interacting serine/threonine kinase/homeodomain-interacting protein kinase (FIST/HIPK3) as a novel Fas-interacting protein. Binding to Fas is mediated by a conserved sequence in the COOH terminus of the protein. FIST/HIPK3 is widely expressed in mammalian tissues and is localized both in the nucleus and in the cytoplasm. In transfected cell lines, FIST/HIPK3 causes FADD phosphorylation, thereby promoting FIST/HIPK3-FADD-Fas interaction. Although Fas ligand-induced activation of Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase is impaired by overexpressed active FIST/HIPK3, cell death is not affected. These results suggest that Fas-associated FIST/HIPK3 modulates one of the two major signaling pathways of Fas.
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