Human keratinocyte motility plays an important role in the re-epithelialization of human skin wounds. The wound bed over which human keratinocytes migrate is rich in extracellular matrices, such as fibrin, fibronectin, and collagen, and serum factors, such as platelet-derived growth factor and transforming growth factor beta 1. Extracellular matrices and the serum factors bind to cell surface receptors and initiate a cascade of intracellular signaling events that regulate cell migration. In this study, we identified an intracellular signaling pathway that mediates collagen- driven motility of human keratinocytes. Pharmaco logic inhibition of the activation of p38-alpha and p38-beta mitogen-activated protein kinase activation potently blocked collagen-driven human keratinocyte migration. Transfection of the same keratinocytes with the kinase-negative mutants of p38-alpha or p38-beta mitogen-activated protein kinase markedly inhibited keratinocyte migration on collagen. Attachment of keratinocytes to collagen activated p38 mitogen- activated protein kinase, as well as p44/p42 ERKs. Interestingly, activation of the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade by overexpressing the constitutively active MKK3 and MKK6, MKK3b(E) and MKK6b(E), could neither initiate migration in the absence of collagen nor enhance collagen-driven migration. This study provides evidence that the p38-MAPK/SAPK pathway is necessary, but insufficient, for mediating human keratinocyte migration on collagen.