Mitogen-activated protein kinases and Wnt/beta-catenin signaling: Molecular conversations among signaling pathways

Commun Integr Biol. 2009;2(1):46-9. doi: 10.4161/cib.2.1.7503.


Wnt/beta-catenin canonical pathway is critical for normal embryonic development; mutations and aberrant expression of specific components of this pathway can be oncogenic. Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways, prominent in intracellular signaling, have been shown to have unique and provocative roles that impact the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. We discuss recent insights that implicate the three major pathways of the MAPK network, i.e., mediated by p38, c-Jun N-terminal (JNK) kinase and Extra-cellular-Regulated Kinases (ERK) and their downstream signaling elements in Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. Novel "crosstalk" among MAPK and Wnt/beta-catenin canonical signaling pathways is essential. A fuller understanding of how such signaling is integrated during development is a high-value target for future research.

Keywords: ERK; G-protein; JNK; Lef/Tcf; Wnt; dishevelled; frizzled; p38; β-catenin.