The mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in mammals include c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK), p38 MAPK, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). These enzymes are serine–threonine protein kinases that regulate various cellular activities including proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis or survival, inflammation, and innate immunity. The compromised MAPK signaling pathways contribute to the pathology of diverse human diseases including cancer and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The JNK and p38 MAPK signaling pathways are activated by various types of cellular stress such as oxidative, genotoxic, and osmotic stress as well as by proinflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin 1β. The Ras–Raf–MEK–ERK signaling pathway plays a key role in cancer development through the stimulation of cell proliferation and metastasis. The p38 MAPK pathway contributes to neuroinflammation mediated by glial cells including microglia and astrocytes, and it has also been associated with anticancer drug resistance in colon and liver cancer. We here summarize recent research on the roles of MAPK signaling pathways in human diseases, with a focus on cancer and neurodegenerative conditions.
- Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)
- Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)
- Neurodegenerative disease
- c-Jun NH-terminal kinase (JNK)
- p38 MAPK
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis