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Understanding MAPK Signaling Pathways in Apoptosis

School of Biology and Basic Medical Sciences, Soochow University Medical College, 199 Ren’ai Road, Suzhou 215123, China
Institut de Neurociències, Departament de Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Unitat de Bioquímica, Facultad de Medicina, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(7), 2346;
Received: 5 February 2020 / Revised: 10 March 2020 / Accepted: 25 March 2020 / Published: 28 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Function of Stress Protein Kinases in Cell Death and Meiosis)
MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) signaling pathways regulate a variety of biological processes through multiple cellular mechanisms. In most of these processes, such as apoptosis, MAPKs have a dual role since they can act as activators or inhibitors, depending on the cell type and the stimulus. In this review, we present the main pro- and anti-apoptotic mechanisms regulated by MAPKs, as well as the crosstalk observed between some MAPKs. We also describe the basic signaling properties of MAPKs (ultrasensitivity, hysteresis, digital response), and the presence of different positive feedback loops in apoptosis. We provide a simple guide to predict MAPKs’ behavior, based on the intensity and duration of the stimulus. Finally, we consider the role of MAPKs in osmostress-induced apoptosis by using Xenopus oocytes as a cell model. As we will see, apoptosis is plagued with multiple positive feedback loops. We hope this review will help to understand how MAPK signaling pathways engage irreversible cellular decisions. View Full-Text
Keywords: apoptosis; protein kinases; caspases; signaling; MAPK; p38; JNK; ERK; oocytes; feedback loops apoptosis; protein kinases; caspases; signaling; MAPK; p38; JNK; ERK; oocytes; feedback loops
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MDPI and ACS Style

Yue, J.; López, J.M. Understanding MAPK Signaling Pathways in Apoptosis. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 2346.

AMA Style

Yue J, López JM. Understanding MAPK Signaling Pathways in Apoptosis. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020; 21(7):2346.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Yue, Jicheng, and José M. López 2020. "Understanding MAPK Signaling Pathways in Apoptosis" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 21, no. 7: 2346.

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