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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.


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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