MAP3K Background

About MAP3K

MAP3K (Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase) is a class of enzymes that belongs to the MAPK (Mitogen-activated protein kinase) signaling pathway. The MAP3K family consists of several members, such as MEKK (MAP/ ERK kinase kinase), MLK (Mixed-lineage kinase), TAK1 (Transforming growth factor-beta-activated kinase 1), and others. They play important roles in cell signaling.

The main function of MAP3K is to phosphorylate and activate MAP2K (Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase) in the downstream MAP kinase cascade, which further activates MAPK and further participates in the regulation of a variety of biological processes, such as cell proliferation, cell differentiation, cell survival and apoptosis, cell migration, and inflammatory response. Different MAP3K members have different selectivity and specificity for specific signaling pathways and biological processes.

In addition, MAP3K can also interact with other signaling pathways to form a complex signaling network. For example, MAP3K can be involved in cross-regulation with signaling pathways such as PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-kinase) and AKT (protein kinase B), which can have an impact on cellular physiological and pathological processes.

The study of MAP3K contributes to a deeper understanding of the complexity of signaling networks and provides new targets and strategies for the treatment of related diseases.

MAP3K - Creative BioMart

Mechanism of Action of MAP3K

  • Receptor Activation

Activation of MAP3K usually begins through receptor activation on the cell surface. External signaling stimuli (including cell growth factors, inflammatory factors, stress factors, etc.) can bind to the receptor on the cell membrane, triggering receptor activation. Different receptors activate different MAP3K.

  • MAP3K Activation

Following receptor activation, the associated MAP3K is activated. This can be accomplished through a variety of mechanisms, including phosphorylation, protein structural changes, and protein complex formation. Activated MAP3K undergoes a conformational change that gives it kinase activity.

  • MAP2K Phosphorylation

Activated MAP3K transmits signals by phosphorylating specific sites of MAP2K. This process activates MAP2K and releases its embedded inhibition, giving it kinase activity.

  • MAPK Cascade Reaction

Activated MAP2K further phosphorylates specific sites of downstream MAPKs, activating MAPKs. Different MAP3Ks selectively activate different MAP2Ks and MAPKs. Common MAPKs include ERK (Extracellular signal-regulated kinase), JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase), and p38 MAPK.

  • Downstream Effects

Activated MAPK can further phosphorylate and regulate a variety of downstream targets, such as transcription factors, cytoskeletal proteins, apoptosis-related proteins, and so on. The activation and regulation of these downstream effector proteins will affect cell physiological and pathological processes, such as gene transcription, cell proliferation, cell differentiation, cell survival and apoptosis, and cell migration.

Mammalian MAPK signaling pathways.Fig.2 Mammalian MAPK signaling pathways. MAPK signaling pathways consist of a 3-tiered MAP3K–MAP2K–MAPK phosphorelay signaling module. (Chadee DN., 2013)

Functions of MAP3K

  • Cell Proliferation and Differentiation

MAP3K is involved in cell proliferation and differentiation by activating the MAPK cascade reaction. Activated MAPK can phosphorylate and activate transcription factors to promote gene transcription and expression, thus regulating the process of cell proliferation and differentiation.

  • Cell Survival and Apoptosis

Activated MAPK can regulate the expression and activity of apoptosis-related proteins and influence cell survival and death decisions. In some cases, aberrant activation of the MAP3K signaling pathway may lead to an increase in apoptosis or a decrease in cell survival, which is associated with the onset and progression of certain diseases.

  • Cell Migration and Invasion

Activated MAPK can regulate the phosphorylation and rearrangement of cytoskeletal proteins, affecting the morphological changes and motility of cells, and thus participating in the process of cell migration and invasion, such as the metastasis and spread of cancer cells.

  • Inflammatory Response

Some inflammatory factors and cytokines can activate MAP3K, which in turn triggers the MAPK cascade response, leading to the transcription of inflammation-related genes and the inflammatory response.

Available Resources for MAP3K

MAP3K has an important function in cell signaling and participates in the regulation of a variety of physiological and pathological processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation, survival and apoptosis, cell migration, and inflammatory response through activation of the MAPK cascade. The study of MAP3K can reveal the complexity of the signaling network and provide new targets and strategies for the treatment of related diseases. Creative BioMart offers a variety of MAP3K-related research products, such as recombinant proteins, cell and tissue lysates, and protein pre-coupled magnetic beads, as well as customizable services and other resources to support your research in the field of MAP3K. The following MAP3Ks are displayed, click to view all related molecules/targets and research reagents. For further information or to purchase products, please contact us. We are committed to providing the highest quality resources and support for your research to help you succeed.


  1. Chadee DN. Involvement of mixed lineage kinase 3 in cancer. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2013;91(4):268-274
  2. Nguyen K, Tran MN, Rivera A, et al. MAP3K Family Review and Correlations with Patient Survival Outcomes in Various Cancer Types. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2022;27(5):167.


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