Activation of the protein kinase Raf can lead to opposing cellular responses such as proliferation, growth arrest, apoptosis, or differentiation. Akt (protein kinase B), a member of a different signaling pathway that also regulates these responses, interacted with Raf and phosphorylated this protein at a highly conserved serine residue in its regulatory domain in vivo. This phosphorylation of Raf by Akt inhibited activation of the Raf-MEK-ERK signaling pathway and shifted the cellular response in a human breast cancer cell line from cell cycle arrest to proliferation. These observations provide a molecular basis for cross talk between two signaling pathways at the level of Raf and Akt.
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