Fibroblast growth factor homologous factors are intracellular signalling proteins.

Current Biology 11, 793-797.

Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) mediate cell growth, differentiation, migration, and morphogenesis by binding to the extracellular domain of cell surface receptors, triggering receptor tyrosine phosphorylation and signal transduction 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. FGF homologous factors (FHFs) were discovered within vertebrate DNA sequence databases by virtue of their sequence similarity to FGFs 3, 6, 7, but the mechanism of FHF action has not been reported. We show here that FHF-1 is associated with the MAP kinase (MAPK) scaffold protein Islet-Brain-2 (IB2) [8] in the brain and in specific cell lines. FHF/IB2 interaction is highly specific, as FHFs do not bind to the related scaffold protein IB1(JIP-1b) 9, 10, nor can FGF-1 bind to IB2. We further show that FHFs enable IB2 to recruit a specific MAPK in transfected cells, and our data suggest that the scaffolds IB1 and IB2 have different MAPK specificities. Hence, FHFs are intracellular components of a tissue-specific protein kinase signaling module.

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