The RAS/ERK pathway has been intensely studied for about three decades, not least because of its role in human pathologies. ERK activation is observed in the majority of human cancers; in about one-third of them, it is driven by mutational activation of pathway components. The pathway is arguably one of the best targets for molecule-based pharmacological intervention, and several small-molecule inhibitors are in clinical use. Genetically engineered mouse models have greatly contributed to our understanding of signaling pathways in development, tissue homeostasis, and disease. In the specific case of the RAS/ERK pathway, they have revealed unique biological roles of structurally and functionally similar proteins, new kinase-independent effectors, and unsuspected relationships with other cascades. This short review summarizes the contribution of mouse models to our current understanding of the pathway.

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