Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways are major signal transduction systems by which eukaryotic cells convert environmental cues to intracellular events such as proliferation and differentiation. We have identified a Trypanosoma cruzi homologue of the MAPK family that we have called TcMAPK2. Sequence analyses demonstrates TcMAPK2 has high homology with lower eukaryotic ERK2 but has significant differences from mammalian ERK2. Enzymatic assays of both recombinant TcMAPK2 and native protein obtained by immunoprecipitation using anti-TcMAPK2 demonstrated that both preparations of TcMAPK2 were catalytically active. Immunofluorescence analysis of the subcellular localization of TcMAPK2 determined it is mainly cytoplasmic in epimastigotes, along the flagella in trypomastigotes and on the plasma membrane of intracellular amastigotes. Phosphorylated TcMAPK2 was highest in trypomastigotes and lowest in amastigotes. Recombinant TcMAPK2 was able to phosphorylate the recombinant protein of a cAMP specific phosphodiesterase. Overexpression of TcMAPK2 in epimastigotes inhibited growth and development leading to death. TcMAPK2 has an important role in the stress response of the parasite and may be important in regulating proliferation and differentiation.