The ability of living cells to respond to the multitude of signals emanating from its environment rests with a variety of signaling pathways inside the cell. The components involved and their assembly in a pathway are dependent upon the type, duration, and magnitude of the signal and ensure the appropriate integrating and processing of the signal resulting in a stimulus-specific response. One of the major intracellular signaling pathways is the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. A central component of this pathway is the MAPKs. The MAPK signaling cascade consists of three protein kinases (Pearson et al. 2001), MAPK and two upstream components, MAPK kinase (MAPKK or MKK) and MAPKK kinase (MAPKKK) (Fig. 1). Three MAPK pathways have so far been described in mammalian cells. The first to be discovered was the extracellular signal-related kinases, ERK1 and ERK2. Subsequently, c-jun amino terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 MAPK

Cellular and functional responses

Cellular and functional responses

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