Cross-linking the high affinity IgE receptor on the rat basophil leukemia clone 2H3 (RBL-2H3) cell line, an vitro model for mast cell signaling, results in granule release. A great deal of research has focused on the earliest steps in this signaling cascade resulting in models which include the participation of lyn, syk, phospholipase C (PLC), protein kinase C (PKC) and intracellular calcium mobilization. In an effort to look at pathways downstream of calcium mobilization, ionomycin-mediated granule release was studied. The kinase inhibitors PP1 (src family), GF109203X (PKC), PD98059 (MEK1/2), and U0126 (MEK1/2) substantially inhibited ionomycin-mediated granule release, while the p38 kinase inhibitor SB203580 did not. Both p38 and erk were phosphorylated upon ionomycin treatment, but only extracellular regulated kinase (erk) activation was completely inhibited by PP1 treatment and partially inhibited by the MEK inhibitors, thus, correlating with the granule release data. Interestingly, while GF109203X alone had no affect on erk activation, combining it with U0126 completely blocked this response. This suggests the existence an alternate pathway for erk activation that is MEK independent and PKC dependent. Experiments in which ionomycin and PP1 were titrated (independently) demonstrated a correlation between erk phosphorylation and granule release, implicating erk in a PP1-inhibitable pathway operating downstream of calcium and controlling mast cell degranulation.