We have identified a serine/threonine kinase that is rapidly activated during Fas-mediated apoptosis. Fas-activated serine/threonine kinase (FAST) is phosphorylated on serine and threonine residues in Jurkat cells. In response to Fas ligation, it is rapidly dephosphorylated and concomitantly activated to phosphorylate TIA-1, a nuclear RNA-binding protein that has been implicated as an effector of apoptosis. Phosphorylation of TIA-1 precedes the onset of DNA fragmentation, suggesting a role in signaling downstream events in the apoptotic program. Our results introduce Fast and TIA-1 as components of a molecular cascade involved in signaling Fas-mediated apoptosis.

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