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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 May 13;94(10):4884-9.

Identification of a new class of protein kinases represented by eukaryotic elongation factor-2 kinase.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA. ryazanag@umdnj.edu


The several hundred members of the eukaryotic protein kinase superfamily characterized to date share a similar catalytic domain structure, consisting of 12 conserved subdomains. Here we report the existence and wide occurrence in eukaryotes of a protein kinase with a completely different structure. We cloned and sequenced the human, mouse, rat, and Caenorhabditis elegans eukaryotic elongation factor-2 kinase (eEF-2 kinase) and found that with the exception of the ATP-binding site, they do not contain any sequence motifs characteristic of the eukaryotic protein kinase superfamily. Comparison of different eEF-2 kinase sequences reveals a highly conserved region of approximately 200 amino acids which was found to be homologous to the catalytic domain of the recently described myosin heavy chain kinase A (MHCK A) from Dictyostelium. This suggests that eEF-2 kinase and MHCK A are members of a new class of protein kinases with a novel catalytic domain structure.

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