Canonical and Alternative MAPK Signaling
Volume 6, Issue 21
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November 1, 2007
Pages 2628 - 2632http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/cc.6.21.4930
Authors: Genaro Pimienta and Jaime Pascual View affiliations
The archetype of MAPK cascade activation is somewhat challenged by the most recent discovery of unexpected phosphorylation patterns, alternative activation mechanisms and sub-cellular localization, in various members of this protein kinase family.
In particular, activation by autophosphorylation pathways has now been described for the three best understood MAPK subgroups: ERK1/2; JNK1/2 and p38α/β. Also, a form of dosage compensation between homologues has been shown to occur in the case of ERK1/2 and JNK1/2. In this paper we summarize the MAPK activation pathway, with an emphasis on non-canonical examples. We use this information to propose a model for MAPK signal transduction that considers a cross-talk between MAPKs with different activation loop sequence motifs and unique C-terminal extensions. We highlight the occurrence of non-canonical substrate specificity during MAPK auto-activation, in strong connection with MAPK homo- and hetero-dimerization events.