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Trends Cell Biol. 2002 Jan;12(1):28-36.

Cdk5 behind the wheel: a role in trafficking and transport?

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  • 1Dept of Biological Sciences, CLS 607, University of South Carolina, Columbia 29208, USA.


Cdk5, a serine/threonine kinase in the cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) family, is an important regulator of neuronal positioning during brain development. Cdk5 might also play a role in synaptogenesis and neurotransmission. Loss of Cdk5 in mice is perinatal lethal, and overactive Cdk5 induces apoptosis in cultured cells, indicating that strict regulation of kinase activity is crucial. Indeed, activity depends on the stability of activating partners, subcellular localization and the phosphorylation state of the enzyme itself. Deregulated kinase activity has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This review focuses on links between Cdk5 activity and components of cytoskeletal, membrane and adhesion systems that allow us to postulate a role for Cdk5 in directing intracellular traffic in neurons.

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