c-jun-N-terminal kinase 1alpha1 (JNK1alpha1) is a serine/threonine kinase of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase family that phosphorylates protein transcription factors after activation by a variety of environmental stressors. In this study, the kinetic mechanism for JNK1alpha1 phosphorylation of activating transcription factor 2 (ATF2) was determined utilizing steady-state kinetics in the presence and absence of both ATF2 and ATP competitive inhibitors. Data from initial velocity studies were consistent with a sequential mechanism for JNK1alpha1. AMP-PCP exhibited competitive inhibition versus ATP and pure noncompetitive inhibition versus ATF2. JIP-1 peptide (RPKRPTTLNLF) was competitive versus ATF2 and mixed noncompetitive versus ATP. These data suggest that JNK1alpha1 proceeded via a random sequential kinetic mechanism with non-interacting ATF2 and ATP substrate sites.