Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) regulates many aspects of cellular function. A member of the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase (MAPKKK) family, TAK1, was previously identified as a mediator in the signaling pathway of TGF-β superfamily members. The yeast two-hybrid system has now revealed two human proteins, termed TAB1 and TAB2 (for TAK1 binding protein), that interact with TAK1. TAB1 and TAK1 were co-immunoprecipitated from mammalian cells. Overproduction of TAB1 enhanced activity of the plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 gene promoter, which is regulated by TGF-β, and increased the kinase activity of TAK1. TAB1 may function as an activator of the TAK1 MAPKKK in TGF-β signal transduction.
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