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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board Member: Buchner, Johannes / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

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In the Cellular Garden of Forking Paths: How p38 MAPKs Signal for Downstream Assistance

Y. Shi / M. Gaestel

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry. Volume 383, Issue 10, Pages 1519–1536, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: 10.1515/BC.2002.173, June 2005

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Mitogenactivated protein kinases (MAPKs) are evolutionarily conserved enzymes which connect cellsurface receptors to regulatory targets within cells and convert receptor signals into various outputs. In mammalian cells, four distinct MAPKs have been identified: the extracellular signalrelated kinases (ERK)-1/2, the cjun Nterminal kinases or stressactivated protein kinases 1 (JNK1/2/3, or SAPK1s), the p38 MAPKs (p38 α/β/γ/δ, or SAPK2s), and the ERK5 or big MAP kinase 1 (BMK1). The p38 MAPK cascade is activated by stress or cytokines and leads to phosphorylation of its central elements, the p38 MAPKs. Downstream of p38 MAPKs there is a diversification and extensive branching of signalling pathways. For that reason, we will focus in this review on the different signalling events that are triggered by p38 activity, and analyse how these events contribute to specific gene expression and cellular responses.

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