Mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases play distinct roles in a variety of cellular signaling pathways and are regulated through multiple mechanisms. In this study, a novel 61-kDa member of the MAP kinase family, termed extracellular signal-regulated kinase 7 (ERK7), has been cloned and characterized. Although it has the signature TEY activation motif of ERK1 and ERK2, ERK7 is not activated by extracellular stimuli that typically activate ERK1 and ERK2 or by common activators of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 kinase. Instead, ERK7 has appreciable constitutive activity in serum-starved cells that is dependent on the presence of its C-terminal domain. Interestingly, the C-terminal tail, not the kinase domain, of ERK7 regulates its nuclear localization and inhibition of growth. Taken together, these results elucidate a novel type of MAP kinase whereby interactions via its C-terminal tail, rather than extracellular signal-mediated activation cascades, regulate its activity, localization, and function.