Role of MAPKs in development and differentiation: lessons from knockout mice

Biochimie. 2006 Sep;88(9):1091-8. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2006.06.003. Epub 2006 Jun 27.


The ERK, p38MAPK, JNK mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are intracellular signaling pathways that play a pivotal role in many essential cellular processes such as proliferation and differentiation. These cascades are activated by a large variety of stimuli and display a high degree of homology. So far, seven MAPK isoforms have been invalidated in mice leading to the discovery of their important functions in development and differentiation. As we could expect because of their multiple and specific properties in vitro, knockout (KO) of MAPK pathways leads to distinct phenotypes in mice. Surprisingly, into a given cascade, KOs of the various isoforms assign specific non-redundant biological functions to each isoform, without compensation by the others. These results emphasize the notion that, although initiated by the same external stimuli, these intracellular cascades activate kinase isoforms each with its own specific role.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout / growth & development*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 7 / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 7 / physiology
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / physiology


  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 7
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases