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J Exp Bot. 2004 Jan;55(395):189-98. Epub 2003 Dec 12.

From signal to cell polarity: mitogen-activated protein kinases as sensors and effectors of cytoskeleton dynamicity.

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Institute of Cellular and Molecular Botany, University of Bonn, Kirschallee 1, D-53115 Bonn, Germany.


Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are ubiquitous phosphorylation enzymes involved in signal transduction, gene expression and activation of diverse cytoskeletal proteins. MAPKs participate in the regulation of a broad range of crucial cellular processes including cell survival, division, polarization, stress responses, and metabolism. Phosphorylation of cytoskeletal proteins usually results in the rearrangement of cytoskeletal arrays leading to morphological changes and cell polarization. On the other hand, some cytoskeletal motor proteins, such as kinesins, could activate MAPK members and participate in signal delivery to the proper cellular destination (e.g. during cell division). Moreover, changes in the integrity of cytoskeletal elements have direct impacts on MAPK activity. Recent evidence suggests that there is bi-directional signalling between MAPK cascades and cytoskeleton. The focus here is on this cross-talk between MAPK signalling and the cytoskeleton in various eukaryotic systems including yeast, plants, and mammals and a role is proposed for MAPKs as sensors monitoring the cytoskeleton-dependent balance of forces within the cell.

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