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FASEB J. 2000 Nov;14(14):2147-57.

Control of the eukaryotic cell cycle by MAP kinase signaling pathways.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Neurobiology, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals Plc, New Frontiers Science Park, Harlow, Essex, CM19 5AW U.K. Marc_G_Wilkonson@sbphrd.com


In an often rapidly changing environment, cells must adapt by monitoring and reacting quickly to extracellular stimuli detected by membrane-bound receptors and proteins. Reversible phosphorylation of intracellular regulatory proteins has emerged as a crucial mechanism effecting the transmission and modulation of such signals and is determined by the relative activities of protein kinases and phosphatases within the cell. These are often arranged into complex signaling networks that may function independently or be subject to cross-regulation. Recently, genetic and biochemical analyses have identified the universally conserved mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase cascade as one of the most ubiquitous signal transduction systems. This pathway is activated after a variety of cellular stimuli and regulates numerous physiological processes, particularly the cell division cycle. Progression through the cell cycle is critically dependent on the presence of environmental growth factors and stress stimuli, and failure to correctly integrate such signals into the cell cycle machinery can lead to the accumulation of genetic damage and genomic instability characteristic of cancer cells. Here we focus on the MAP kinase cascade and discuss the molecular mechanisms by which these extensively studied signaling pathways influence cell growth and proliferation.

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