The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2 (ERK2) is ubiquitously expressed in mammalian tissues and is involved in a wide range of biological processes. Although MAPKs have been intensely studied, identification of their substrates remains challenging. We have optimized a chemical genetic system using analog-sensitive ERK2, a form of ERK2 engineered to use an analog of adenosine 5’-triphosphate (ATP), to tag and isolate ERK2 substrates in vitro. This approach identified 80 proteins phosphorylated by ERK2, 13 of which are known ERK2 substrates. The 80 substrates are associated with diverse cellular processes, including regulation of transcription and translation, mRNA processing, and regulation of the activity of the Rho family guanosine triphosphatases. We found that one of the newly identified substrates, ETV3 (a member of the E twenty-six family of transcriptional regulators), was extensively phosphorylated on sites within canonical and noncanonical ERK motifs. Phosphorylation of ETV3 regulated transcription by preventing its binding to DNA at promoters for several thousand genes, including some involved in negative feedback regulation of itself and of upstream signals.
Read more at PubMed.