PROSITE documentation PDOC01049
MAP kinase signature


Mitogen-activated protein kinases (EC (MAP kinases, also called ERKs for extracellularly-regulated kinases) form a group of serine/threonine protein kinases (see <PDOC00100>) that play important roles in signal transduction pathways regulating adaptative response to a wide range of stimuli.

Almost all MAPKs possess a conserved TXY motif in which both the threonine and tyrosine residues are phosphorylated during activation of the enzyme by upstream dual-specificity MAP kinase kinases (MAPKKs).

However the TXY motif is not enough conserved to develop a pattern. The region we selected for our pattern is located just after the TXY motif and contains a F and a C residue that are MAPK-specific. The R and E residues in the first part of our pattern, and the R, D and K residues in the second part, are shared by many additional protein kinases. They have been included in the pattern to eliminate matches from unrelated sequences in the database, and to "anchor" the MAPK-specific F and C residues to this region [3,4].


Does not detect MAPK4/ERK4 and MAPK6/ERK3 which are probably not real MAP kinases.

Expert(s) to contact by email:

Doerig C.

Last update:

December 2004 / Pattern and text revised.


Technical section

PROSITE method (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

MAPK, PS01351; MAP kinase signature  (PATTERN)


1AuthorsCobb M.H. Goldsmith E.J.
TitleHow MAP kinases are regulated.
SourceJ. Biol. Chem. 270:14843-14846(1995).
PubMed ID7797459

2AuthorsMadhani H.D. Fink G.R.
TitleThe riddle of MAP kinase signaling specificity.
SourceTrends Genet. 14:151-155(1998).
PubMed ID9594663

3AuthorsNakashima S. Wang S. Hisamoto N. Sakai H. Andoh M. Matsumoto K. Nozawa Y.
TitleMolecular cloning and expression of a stress-responsive mitogen-activated protein kinase-related kinase from Tetrahymena cells.
SourceJ. Biol. Chem. 274:9976-9983(1999).
PubMed ID10187773

4AuthorsDorin D. Alano P. Boccaccio I. Ciceron L. Doerig C. Sulpice R. Parzy D. Doerig C.
TitleAn atypical mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) homologue expressed in gametocytes of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Identification of a MAPK signature.
SourceJ. Biol. Chem. 274:29912-29920(1999).
PubMed ID10514473

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