DJ-1 has been reported as a gene linked to early onset familial Parkinson's disease, and is functionally involved in transcriptional regulation and oxidative stress-induced cell death. To understand the role of DJ-1 in cellular stress, this study investigated DJ-1's effect on stress-activated protein kinase signaling and H2O2-induced activation of apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1). According to the results, the overexpression of DJ-1 inhibited H2O2-induced activation of ASK1 as well as the activation of downstream kinases in the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling cascade. The results of both in vivo binding and kinase studies have revealed that ASK1 is the direct target of DJ-1, whereas it has shown no effect on either MKK3 or p38. DJ-1 blocked both the homo-oligomerization of ASK1 and inhibited ASK1 activity. Taken together, our data strongly suggest that DJ-1, by directly inhibiting ASK1, may act as a negative regulator in ASK1 signaling cascades. J. Cell. Biochem. 110: 229–237, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.