Activation of the transcription factor nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB) is controlled by sequential phosphorylation, ubiquitination, and degradation of its inhibitory subunit IkappaB. A large multiprotein complex, the IkappaB kinase (IKK) signalsome, was purified from HeLa cells and found to contain a cytokine-inducible IkappaB kinase activity that phosphorylates IkappaB-alpha and IkappaB-beta. Two components of the IKK signalsome, IKK-1 and IKK-2, were identified as closely related protein serine kinases containing leucine zipper and helix-loop-helix protein interaction motifs. Mutant versions of IKK-2 had pronounced effects on RelA nuclear translocation and NF-kappaB-dependent reporter activity, consistent with a critical role for the IKK kinases in the NF-kappaB signaling pathway.
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