We recently described the purification and cloning of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 (ERK1), which appears to play a pivotal role in converting tyrosine phosphorylation into the serine/threonine phosphorylations that regulate downstream events. We now describe cloning and characterization of two ERK1-related kinases, ERK2 and ERK3, and provide evidence suggesting that there are additional ERK family members. At least two of the ERKs are activated in response to growth factors; their activations correlate with tyrosine phophorylation, but also depend on additional modifications. Transcripts corresponding to the three cloned ERKs are distinctly regulated both in vivo and in a differentiating cell line. Thus, this family of kinases may serve as intermediates that depend on tyrosine phosphorylation to activate serine/threonine phosphorylation cascades. Individual family members may mediate responses in different developmental stages, in different cell types, or following exposure to different extracellular signals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)