Dual-specificity MAP kinase phosphatases (MKPs) provide a complex negative regulatory network that acts to shape the duration, magnitude and spatiotemporal profile of MAP kinase activities in response to both physiological and pathological stimuli. Individual MKPs may exhibit either exquisite specificity towards a single mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) isoform or be able to regulate multiple MAPK pathways in a single cell or tissue. They can act as negative feedback regulators of MAPK activity, but can also provide mechanisms of crosstalk between distinct MAPK pathways and between MAPK signalling and other intracellular signalling modules. In this review, we explore the current state of knowledge with respect to the regulation of MKP expression levels and activities, the mechanisms by which individual MKPs recognize and interact with different MAPK isoforms and their role in the spatiotemporal regulation of MAPK signalling.
© 2012 The Authors Journal compilation © 2012 FEBS.