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A walk-through MAPK structure and functionality with the 30-year-old yeast MAPK Slt2

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Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are evolutionarily conserved signaling proteins involved in the regulation of most eukaryotic cellular processes. They are downstream components of essential signal transduction pathways activated by the external stimuli, in which the signal is conveyed through phosphorylation cascades. The excellent genetic and biochemical tractability of simple eukaryotes such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae has significantly contributed to gain fundamental information into the physiology of these key proteins. The budding yeast MAPK Slt2 was identified 30 years ago and was later revealed as a fundamental element of the cell wall integrity (CWI) pathway, one of the five MAPK routes of S. cerevisiae. As occurs with other MAPKs, whereas Slt2 displays the core typical structural traits of eukaryotic protein kinases, it also features conserved domains among MAPKs that allow an exquisite spatio-temporal regulation of their activity and binding to activating kinases, downregulatory phosphatases, or nuclear transcription factors. Additionally, Slt2 bears a regulatory extra C-terminal tail unique among S. cerevisiae MAPKs. Here, we review the structural and functional basis for the signaling role of Slt2 in the context of the molecular architecture of this important family of protein kinases.

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We wish to dedicate this article to the memory of Dr. Miguel Sánchez, who enthusiastically devoted his passion and effort to the identification and characterization of this protein kinase. We thank César Nombela for his support and colleagues from Unit 3 of the Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología at UCM for their useful comments and discussions. We also thank Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (Spain) (grant PID2019-105342GB-I00), and Comunidad de Madrid (Spain) and European Structural and Investment Funds (grant S2017/BMD-3691 InGEMICS-CM) for funding, and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain) and Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (Spain), for supporting G.G.-R. and A.S.-M. predoctoral contracts.


Grant PID2019-105342 GB-I00 from the Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (Spain), to M.M., and grant S2017/BMD-3691 (InGEMICS-CM) from the Comunidad de Madrid (Spain) and European Structural and Investment Funds to M.M.

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All authors, Gema González-Rubio, Ángela Sellers-Moya, Humberto Martín, and María Molina, contributed to conceiving and designing the study and writing of the paper.

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Correspondence to Humberto Martín or María Molina.

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González-Rubio, G., Sellers-Moya, Á., Martín, H. et al. A walk-through MAPK structure and functionality with the 30-year-old yeast MAPK Slt2. Int Microbiol 24, 531–543 (2021).

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