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C R Seances Soc Biol Fil. 1995;189(1):43-57.

[MAP kinase module: role in the control of cell proliferation].

[Article in French]

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Centre de Biochimie, CNRS, UMR 134, Université de Nice, France.


A kinase cascade highly conserved throughout evolution, Raf/MAP kinase kinase kinase (MAPKKK)-->MAP kinase kinase (MAPKK)-->MAP kinase (MAPK)-->ribosomal S6 kinase (p90 RSK), is thought to play a crucial role in signal transduction from the membrane to the nucleus. In mammalian cells, this cascade is connected both to tyrosine kinase receptors and G protein-coupled receptors. Although the mode of activation at the receptor level differs, all mitogens activate the ubiquitously expressed isoforms of MAPK, p42 and p44. We have cloned, epitope tagged and expressed in fibroblasts, the Hamster MAPKK and p44 MAPK in order to analyze their time-course of activation, their subcellular localization, their regulatory phosphorylation sites and their role in cell cycle entry. We have demonstrated that MAPK activation was rapid, biphasic and persistent. The sustained phase of activation is only obtained with potent mitogenic agents, correlating with their ability to elicit cell cycle entry. Activation of MAPKK is also rapid and persistent but does not distinguish between mitogenic and non mitogenic factors, indicating that a distinction occurs at the MAPK level, probably by the action of specific phosphatases such as MAPK phosphatase MKP-1. Both isoforms of MAPK are translocated into the nucleus upon growth factor addition whereas the upstream activators (MAPKKK, Raf and MAPKK) remain cytoplasmic. MAPK translocation, together with the ability of MAPK to phosphorylate transcription factors, indicates that MAPK might constitute a relay between cytoplasmic and nuclear events. Finally we show that interfering with the MAP kinase cascade, by expressing either MAPK antisense, a MAPK dominant negative mutant or the MAPK specific phosphatase, MKP-1, suppresses the growth factor induced G0 to G1 transition. In addition, permanently activated versions of MAPKK reduce growth factor requirement, allow autonomous cell growth and induce tumor formation in nude mice. We therefore conclude that MAP kinase activation is both necessary and sufficient to trigger cell cycle entry.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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