Membrane depolarization and calcium influx stimulate MEK and MAP kinase via activation of Ras

Neuron. 1994 Jun;12(6):1207-21. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(94)90438-3.


A pathway by which calcium influx through voltage-sensitive calcium channels leads to mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation has been characterized. In PC12 cells, membrane depolarization leading to calcium influx through L-type calcium channels activates the dual specificity MAPK kinase MEK1, which phosphorylates and activates MAPK. Calcium influx leads within 30 s to activation of the small guanine nucleotide-binding protein Ras. Moreover, activation of MAPK in response to calcium influx is inhibited by the dominant negative mutant RasAsn17, indicating that Ras activity is required for calcium signaling to MAPK. Ras is also activated by release of calcium from intracellular stores and by membrane depolarization of primary cortical neurons. The pleiotropic regulatory potential of both Ras and the MAPK pathway suggests that they may be central mediators of calcium signaling in the nervous system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibodies
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Enzyme Activation
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Immunoblotting
  • Kinetics
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 1
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Mice
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases*
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • PC12 Cells
  • Peptides / immunology
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / isolation & purification
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / isolation & purification
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transfection


  • Antibodies
  • Calcium Channels
  • Peptides
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 1
  • Map2k1 protein, mouse
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Calcium