Post-translational modification by the small ubiquitin-related modifier (SUMO) is important for a variety of cellular and developmental processes. However, the precise mechanism(s) that connects sumoylation to specific developmental signaling pathways remains relatively less clear. Here, we show that Smt3 knockdown in Drosophila wing discs causes phenotypes resembling JNK gain of function, including ectopic apoptosis and apoptosis-induced compensatory growth. Smt3 depletion leads to an increased expression of JNK target genes Mmp1 and puckered. We show that, although knockdown of the homeodomain-interacting protein kinase (Hipk) suppresses Smt3 depletion-induced activation of JNK, Hipk overexpression synergistically enhances this type of JNK activation. We further demonstrate that Hipk is sumolylated in vivo, and its nuclear localization is dependent on the sumoylation pathway. Our results thus establish a mechanistic connection between the sumoylation pathway and the JNK pathway through the action of Hipk. We propose that the sumoylation-controlled balance between cytoplasmic and nuclear Hipk plays a crucial role in regulating JNK signaling.