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J Neurosci. 1996 Apr 15;16(8):2488-94.

CASK: a novel dlg/PSD95 homolog with an N-terminal calmodulin-dependent protein kinase domain identified by interaction with neurexins.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, The University of Texa Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 75235, USA.


Neurexins are neuronal cell surface proteins with hundreds of isoforms. In yeast two-hybrid screens for intracellular molecules interacting with different neurexins, we identified a single interacting protein called CASK. CASK is composed of an N-terminal Ca2+, calmodulin-dependent protein kinase sequence and a C-terminal region that is similar to the intercellular junction proteins dlg-A, PSD95/SAP90, SAP97, Z01, and Z02 and that contains DHR-, SH3-, and guanylate kinase domains. CASK is enriched in brain in synaptic plasma membranes but is also detectable at low levels in all tissues tested. The cytoplasmic domains of all three neurexins bind CASK in a salt-labile interaction. In neurexin I, this interaction is dependent on the C-terminal three residues. Thus, CASK is a membrane-associated protein that combines domains found in Ca2+ - activated protein kinases and in proteins specific for intercellular junctions, suggesting that it may be a signaling molecule operating at the plasma membrane, possibly in conjunction with neurexins.

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