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The Journal of Biochemistry
Vol. 136 (2004) No. 5 P 557-561



Spatiotemporal control of the Ras/ERK MAP kinase signaling pathway is a key factor for determining the specificity of cellular responses including cell proliferation, cell differentiation and cell survival. The fidelity of this signaling is regulated by docking interactions as well as scaffolding. Subcellular localization of ERK is controlled by cytoplasmic ERK anchoring proteins that have a nuclear export signal (NES), such as MEK. In quiescent cells, ERK and MEK localize to the cytoplasm. In response to stimulation, dissociation of the MEK-ERK complex is induced and activated ERK translocates to the nucleus. Recently, several negative regulators for Ras/ERK signaling have been identified and their detailed molecular mechanisms have been analyzed. Among them, Sprouty and Sef act as a temporal and a spatial regulator, respectively, for Ras/ERK signaling. Thus, multiple factors are involved in control of Ras/ERK signaling.

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