Ternary complex factors: prime nuclear targets for mitogen-activated protein kinases

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2003 Aug;35(8):1210-26. doi: 10.1016/s1357-2725(03)00031-1.


Ternary complex factors (TCFs), a subgroup of the ETS protein family, were first described in the context of c-fos gene regulation. Subsequently, their early identification as nuclear targets for mitogen-activated protein kinases served to exemplify the fundamental links in eukaryotic cells between growth factor-mediated signalling pathways and gene control. This article provides an overview of recent work on ternary complex factors, addressing their expression and molecular structure, as well as how selective interactions with members of other protein families serve to up-1 regulate or restrict their activity. Although only one genetic study on ternary complex factors has been published to date, unravelling of the underlying molecular events provides a basis for tentative predictions about their biological roles in mammalian organisms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein Structure, Quaternary
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / chemistry
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • ets-Domain Protein Elk-1


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • ets-Domain Protein Elk-1
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases