Infection with Shiga toxin (STx)-producing bacteria can progress to a toxemic, extraintestinal injury cascade known as haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the leading cause of acute renal failure in children. Mounting evidence suggests that STx activates stress response pathways in susceptible cells and has implicated the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. More importantly, some of the pathology associated with HUS is believed to be a result of a STx-induced inflammatory response. From a siRNA screen of the human kinome adapted to a high-throughput format, we found that knock-down of the MAPK-activated protein kinase 2 (MK2), a downstream target of the p38 MAPK, protected against Shiga toxicity. Further characterization of the in vitro role of MK2 revealed that STx activates the p38-MK2 stress response pathway in both p38- and MK2-dependent manners in two distinct cell lines. MK2 activation was specific to damage to the ribosome by an enzymatically active toxin and did not result from translational inhibition per se. Genetic and chemical inhibition of MK2 significantly decreased the inflammatory response to STx. These findings suggest that MK2 inhibition might play a valuable role in decreasing the immuopathological component of STx-mediated disease.