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J Cell Sci. 2004 Sep 15;117(Pt 20):4619-28.

MAP kinases and cell migration.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7090, USA.


Recent studies have demonstrated that mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), including Jun N-terminus kinase (JNK), p38 and Erk, play crucial roles in cell migration. JNK, for example, regulates cell migration by phosphorylating paxillin, DCX, Jun and microtubule-associated proteins. Studies of p38 show that this MAPK modulates migration by phosphorylating MAPK-activated protein kinase 2/3 (MAPKAP 2/3), which appears to be important for directionality of migration. Erk governs cell movement by phosphorylating myosin light chain kinase (MLCK), calpain or FAK. Thus, the different kinases in the MAPK family all seem able to regulate cell migration but by distinct mechanisms.

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