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Cell Cycle. 2009 Mar 1;8(5):705-11. Epub 2009 Mar 29.

Total ERK1/2 activity regulates cell proliferation.

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Institute of Developmental Biology and Cancer, CNRS UMR 6543, Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis, Centre A. Lacassagne, Nice, France.


Regulating ERK activity is essential for normal cell proliferation to occur. In mammals and most vertebrates ERK activity is provided by ERK1 and ERK2 that are highly similar, ubiquitously expressed and share activators and substrates. By combining single and double silencings of ERK1 and ERK2 we recently demonstrated that the apparent dominant role of ERK2 to regulate cell proliferation was due to its markedly higher expression level than ERK1. The contribution of ERK1 was revealed when ERK2 activation was clamped to avoid compensating over-activation of ERK2. We found no evidences in the literature for insulated isoform-specific modules in the Ras/Raf/MEK signaling cascade that could activate specifically ERK1 or ERK2. Obviously in frogs all signal integration and fine modulation provided by three Ras and three Raf isoforms is conducted by only one MEK and one ERK isoform. In mammals, ERK1 and ERK2 display similar specific activities and are activated respectively to their expression levels. After integrating signals from Ras, Raf and MEK isoforms, ERK1 and ERK2 regulate positively cell proliferation according to their expression levels.

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