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Chromosoma. 2005 Jul;114(2):86-91. Epub 2005 May 18.

Control of MAP kinase signaling to the nucleus.

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


MAP kinase (MAPK) signaling is among central signaling pathways that regulate cell proliferation, cell differentiation and apoptosis. As MAPK should transmit extracellular signals to proper regions or compartments in cells, controlling subcellular localization of MAPK is important for regulating fidelity and specificity of MAPK signaling. The ERK1/2-type of MAPK is the best characterized member of the MAPK family. In response to extracellular stimulus, ERK1/2 translocates from the cytoplasm to the nucleus by passing through the nuclear pore by several independent mechanisms. Sef (similar expression to fgf genes), a transmembrane protein, has been shown to be a regulator of subcellular distribution of ERK1/2. Sef binds to activated MEK1/2, the specific activator of ERK1/2, and tethers the activated MEK1/2/activated ERK1/2 complex to the Golgi apparatus and the plasma membrane. Thus, Sef blocks ERK1/2 signaling to the nucleus and allows signaling to the cytoplasm. Here we review recent findings on spatial regulation of MAPK, especially on nucleocytoplasmic trafficking of ERK1/2.

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