Novel membrane-targeted ERK1 and ERK2 chimeras which act as dominant negative, isotype-specific mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitors of Ras-Raf-mediated transcriptional activation of c-fos in NIH 3T3 cells

Mol Cell Biol. 1999 Dec;19(12):8052-65. doi: 10.1128/mcb.19.12.8052.


Expression of constructs encoding fusion proteins of ERK1 and ERK2 containing a C-terminal farnesylation motif (CAAX) is predominantly localized at the cell membrane and was activated by coexpression of constitutively active Ha-RasL61 and epidermal growth factor. Both fusion proteins significantly inhibit the transcriptional activation of a c-fos-chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter induced by RasL61, constitutively active MEK1, or constitutively active RafBXB. The corresponding SAAX chimeras or overexpression of the wild-type ERKs did not interfere with the transcriptional activation of c-fos. The inhibition of the Ras-mediated c-fos induction by ERK2-CAAX can in part be rescued by coexpression of a wild-type ERK2 but not by wild-type ERK1. We find that ERK1-CAAX acts in the same fashion, indicating that mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-CAAX chimeras interact in an isotype-specific manner. It is demonstrated that both ERK1-CAAX and ERK2-CAAX associate with the corresponding endogenous ERKs, which explains the isotype-specific inhibitory effects of the ERK-CAAX chimeras. Evidence is presented that expression of ERK-CAAX fusion proteins inhibits the nuclear translocation of the corresponding endogenous ERKs. Disruption of MAPK translocation by membrane targeting provides additional, independent proof that nuclear translocation of ERKs is essential for the transcriptional activation of c-fos.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • COS Cells
  • Cell Fractionation
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Fluid
  • Isoenzymes
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 1
  • Mice
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1 / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1 / metabolism*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-raf / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcriptional Activation*
  • ras Proteins / metabolism*


  • Isoenzymes
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-raf
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 1
  • MAP2K1 protein, human
  • Map2k1 protein, mouse
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases
  • ras Proteins