MAP (mitogen-activated protein) kinases are a family of serine/threonine kinases that have a pivotal role in signal transduction. Here we report the cloning and characterization of a mouse homologue of extracellular-signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK)3. The mouse Erk3 cDNA encodes a predicted protein of 720 residues, which displays 94% identity with human ERK3. Transcription and translation of this cDNA in vitro generates a 100 kDa protein similar to the human gene product ERK3. Immunoblot analysis with an antibody raised against a unique sequence of ERK3 also recognizes a 100 kDa protein in mouse tissues. A single transcript of Erk3 was detected in every adult mouse tissue examined, with the highest expression being found in the brain. Interestingly, expression of Erk3 mRNA is acutely regulated during mouse development, with a peak of expression observed at embryonic day 11. The mouse Erk3 gene was mapped to a single locus on central mouse chromosome 9, adjacent to the dilute mutation locus and in a region syntenic to human chromosome 15q21. Finally, we provide several lines of evidence to support the existence of a unique Erk3 gene product of 100 kDa in mammalian cells.
The nucleotide sequence data reported will appear in GenBank Nucleotide Sequence Database under the accession number AF132850.