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J Cell Sci. 2004 Sep 1;117(Pt 19):4343-54.

The genetics of Pak.

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  • 1Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA.


p21-activated kinases (Paks) are a highly conserved family of enzymes that bind to and are activated by small GTPases of the Cdc42 and Rac families. With the notable exception of plants, nearly all eukaryotes encode one or more Pak genes, indicating an ancient origin and important function for this family of enzymes. Genetic approaches in many different experimental systems, ranging from yeast to mice, are beginning to decipher the different functions of Paks. Although some of these functions are unique to a given organism, certain common themes have emerged, such as the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades and the regulation of cytoskeletal structure through effects on the actin and tubulin cytoskeletons.

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