The Caenorhabditis elegans mpk-1 gene encodes a MAP kinase protein that plays an important role in Ras-mediated induction of vulval cell fates. We show that mutations that eliminate mpk-1 activity result in a highly penetrant, vulvaless phenotype. A double mutant containing a gain-of-function mpk-1 mutation and a gain-of-function mek mutation (MEK phosphorylates and activates MPK-1) exhibits a multivulva phenotype. These results suggest that mpk-1 may transduce most or all of the anchor cell signal. Epistasis analysis suggests that mpk-1 acts downstream of mek-2 (encodes a MEK homolog) and upstream of lin-1 (encodes an Ets transcription factor) in the anchor cell signaling pathway. Finally, mpk-1 may act together with let-60 ras in multiple developmental processes, as mpk-1 mutants exhibit nearly the same range of developmental phenotypes as let-60 ras mutants.