Gemin5 is a 170-kDa WD-repeat-containing protein that was initially identified as a component of the survival of motor neurons (SMN) complex. We now show that Gemin5 facilitates the activation of apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) and downstream signaling. Gemin5 physically interacted with ASK1 as well as with the downstream kinases SEK1 and c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK1), and it potentiated the H(2)O(2)-induced activation of each of these kinases in intact cells. Moreover, Gemin5 promoted the binding of ASK1 to SEK1 and to JNK1, as well as the ASK1-induced activation of JNK1. In comparison, Gemin5 did not physically associate with MKK7, MKK3, MKK6, or p38. Furthermore, depletion of endogenous Gemin5 by RNA interference (RNAi) revealed that Gemin5 contributes to the activation of ASK1 and JNK1, and to apoptosis induced by H(2)O(2) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha) in HeLa cells. Together, our results suggest that Gemin5 functions as a scaffold protein for the ASK1-JNK1 signaling module and thereby potentiates ASK1-mediated signaling events.
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