MAP kinases and cell migration

J Cell Sci. 2004 Sep 15;117(Pt 20):4619-28. doi: 10.1242/jcs.01481.


Recent studies have demonstrated that mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), including Jun N-terminus kinase (JNK), p38 and Erk, play crucial roles in cell migration. JNK, for example, regulates cell migration by phosphorylating paxillin, DCX, Jun and microtubule-associated proteins. Studies of p38 show that this MAPK modulates migration by phosphorylating MAPK-activated protein kinase 2/3 (MAPKAP 2/3), which appears to be important for directionality of migration. Erk governs cell movement by phosphorylating myosin light chain kinase (MLCK), calpain or FAK. Thus, the different kinases in the MAPK family all seem able to regulate cell migration but by distinct mechanisms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calpain / metabolism
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / physiology*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Calpain