Scaffold proteins in MAP kinase signaling: more than simple passive activating platforms

Bioessays. 2006 Feb;28(2):146-56. doi: 10.1002/bies.20351.


Due to the central position of scaffold proteins in numerous signaling networks, especially in MAPK pathways, considerable efforts have been made to identify new scaffolds and to characterize their function and regulation. Most of our knowledge stems from studies of yeast MAPK scaffolds, but the identification of such scaffolds in higher eukaryotes provided a new dimension to this field and led to exciting and promising new insights into the regulation of MAPK signaling. In this review, we shortly summarize the well-established basic functions of scaffolds in yeast and highlight concepts emerging from recent studies in yeast and higher eukaryotes. In particular, we discuss how scaffolds may actively influence MAPK signaling by inducing conformational changes of bound kinases or substrates, by controlling the localization of activated MAPK and the extent and output of MAPK activation, and by modulating MAPK kinetics through the recruitment of phosphatases or ubiquitin-ligases. Finally, we summarize the current knowledge of scaffold regulation, and how these events may be functionally important for MAPK signaling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Regulation
  • Animals
  • Cell Compartmentation*
  • Enzyme Activation
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases