Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) is a part of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway which allows the transduction of various cellular signals to final effectors and regulation of elementary cellular processes. Deregulation of the MAPK signaling occurs under many pathological conditions including neurodegenerative disorders, metabolic syndromes and cancers. Targeted inhibition of individual kinases of the MAPK signaling pathway using synthetic compounds represents a promising way to effective anti-cancer therapy. Cross-talk of the MAPK signaling pathway with other proteins and signaling pathways have a crucial impact on clinical outcomes of targeted therapies and plays important role during development of drug resistance in cancers. We discuss cross-talk of the MAPK/ERK signaling pathway with other signaling pathways, in particular interplay with the Hippo/MST pathway. We demonstrate the mechanism of cell death induction shared between MAPK/ERK and Hippo/MST signaling pathways and discuss the potential of combination targeting of these pathways in the development of more effective anti-cancer therapies.
Keywords: ERK; Hippo; MAPK; MST; PI3K; YAP; apoptosis; cancer; caspase; inhibitors; natural compounds; therapy.