A mammalian dual specificity protein kinase, Nek1, is related to the NIMA cell cycle regulator and highly expressed in meiotic germ cells

Kenneth Letwin, Lee Mizzen, Benny Motro, Yaacov Ben-David, Alan Bernstein, Tony Pawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations

Abstract

Screening of mouse cDNA expression libraries with antibodies to phosphotyrosine resulted in repeated isolation of cDNAs that encode a novel mammalian protein kinase of 774 amino acids, termed Nek1. Nek1 contains an N-terminal protein kinase domain which is most similar (42% identity) to the catalytic domain of NIMA, a protein kinase which controls initiation of mitosis in Aspergillus nidulans. In addition, both Nek1 and NIMA have a long, basic C-terminal extension, and are therefore similar in overall structure. Despite its identification with anti-phosphotyrosine antibodies, Nek1 contains sequence motifs characteristic of protein serine/threonine kinases. The Nek1 kinase domain, when expressed in bacteria, phosphorylated exogenous substrates primarily on serine/threonine, but also on tyrosine, indicating that Nek1 is a dual specificity kinase with the capacity to phosphorylate all three hydroxyamino acids. Like NIMA, Nek1 preferentially phosphorylated β-casein in vitro. In situ RNA analysis of nek1 expression in mouse gonads revealed a high level of expression in both male and female germ cells, with a distribution consistent with a role in meiosis. These results suggest that Nek1 is a mammalian relative of the fungal NIMA cell cycle regulator.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3521-3531
Number of pages11
JournalEMBO Journal
Volume11
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1992
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cell cycle
  • NIMA-related kinase

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