MAPK pathways represent a unique extracellular signal response system. An important feature of such a multicomponent system appears to be the spatial intracellular organization of individual components. Recent studies demonstrate that the MAP kinases of such pathways are the molecular link between the plasma membrane sensors and the nuclear transcription factors. Stimulation of several MAPK pathways induces rapid and transient nuclear accumulation of MAP kinases. Investigations on the mode of regulation of this process using higher eukaryotes Erk2 and lower eukaryotes Hog1 and Sty1/Spc1 have revealed that at least three events contribute to signal-induced nuclear localization of these MAP kinases: activation by phosphorylation, regulated nuclear import and export, and nuclear retention.