ERK Signaling pp 151-162 | Cite as

Analysis of Ras/ERK Compartmentalization by Subcellular Fractionation

  • Lorena Agudo-Ibañez
  • Piero Crespo
  • Berta CasarEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1487)


A vast number of stimuli use the Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK signaling cascade to transmit signals from their cognate receptors, in order to regulate multiple cellular functions, including key processes such as proliferation, cell cycle progression, differentiation, and survival. The duration, intensity and specificity of the responses are, in part, controlled by the compartmentalization/subcellular localization of the signaling intermediaries. Ras proteins are found in different plasma membrane microdomains and endomembranes. At these localizations, Ras is subject to site-specific regulatory mechanisms, distinctively engaging effector pathways and switching-on diverse genetic programs to generate a multitude of biological responses. The Ras effector pathway leading to ERKs activation is also subject to space-related regulatory processes. About half of ERK1/2 substrates are found in the nucleus and function mainly as transcription factors. The other half resides in the cytosol and other cellular organelles. Such subcellular distribution enhances the complexity of the Ras/ERK cascade and constitutes an essential mechanism to endow variability to its signals, which enables their participation in the regulation of a broad variety of functions. Thus, analyzing the subcellular compartmentalization of the members of the Ras/ERK cascade constitutes an important factor to be taken into account when studying specific biological responses evoked by Ras/ERK signals. Herein, we describe methods for such purpose.

Key words

Ras Membrane microdomains MAP kinases ERK Subcellular fractionation Spatial regulation of signaling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorena Agudo-Ibañez
    • 1
  • Piero Crespo
    • 1
  • Berta Casar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Instituto de Biomedicina y Biotecnología de CantabriaConsejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas – Universidad de CantabriaSantanderSpain

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