The Raf/MEK/ERK pathway: new concepts of activation

Biol Cell. 2001 Sep;93(1-2):53-62. doi: 10.1016/s0248-4900(01)01125-x.


The Raf/MEK/ERK signaling was the first MAP kinase cascade to be characterized. It is probably one of the most well known signal transduction pathways among biologists because of its implication in a wide variety of cellular functions as diverse -and occasionally contradictory- as cell proliferation, cell-cycle arrest, terminal differentiation and apoptosis. Discovery and understanding of this pathway have benefited from the combination of both genetic studies in worms and flies and biochemical studies in mammalian cells. However, ten years after, this field is still under debate and new molecular partners in the cascade continue to increase the complexity of its regulation. This review deals with the emergence of new concepts in the activation and regulation of the Raf/MEK/ERK module. In particular, the preponderant role of B-Raf is underlined, and the role of novel regulators such as KSR is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinase 1*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-raf / metabolism*


  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-raf
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinase 1
  • MAP3K1 protein, human