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Pharmacol Ther. 2002 Feb-Mar;93(2-3):193-202.

Docking interactions in the mitogen-activated protein kinase cascades.

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Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, 606-8502, Kyoto, Japan.


Regulation of cellular functions and responses utilizes a number of the signal transduction pathways. Each pathway should transduce signals with high efficiency and fidelity to avoid unnecessary crosstalks. The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades regulate a wide variety of cellular functions, including cell proliferation, differentiation, and stress responses. MAPK is activated by MAPK kinase; phosphorylates various targets, including transcription factors and MAPK-activated protein kinases; and is inactivated by several phosphatases. Recent studies have provided a cue to understand the molecular mechanism underlying the signal transduction through the MAPK cascades. In the MAPK cascades, docking interactions, which are achieved through a site outside the catalytic domain of MAPKs, regulate the efficiency and specificity of the enzymatic reactions. The docking interaction is different from a transient enzyme-substrate interaction through the active center. It has been shown that activators, substrates, and inactivators of MAPKs utilize a common site on MAPKs in the docking interaction. Then, the docking interaction may regulate not only the efficiency and specificity of the cascades, but also the ordered and integrated signaling.

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