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J Biol Chem. 1998 Nov 6;273(45):29706-11.

Citron rho-interacting kinase, a novel tissue-specific ser/thr kinase encompassing the Rho-Rac-binding protein Citron.

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  • 1Cutaneous Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.


We have identified a novel serine/threonine kinase belonging to the myotonic dystrophy kinase family. The kinase can be produced in at least two different isoforms: a approximately 240-kDa protein (Citron Rho-interacting kinase, CRIK), in which the kinase domain is followed by the sequence of Citron, a previously identified Rho/Rac binding protein; a approximately 54-kDa protein (CRIK-short kinase (SK)), which consists mostly of the kinase domain. CRIK and CRIK-SK proteins are capable of phosphorylating exogenous substrates as well as of autophosphorylation, when tested by in vitro kinase assays after expression into COS7 cells. CRIK kinase activity is increased severalfold by coexpression of costitutively active Rho, while active Rac has more limited effects. Kinase activity of endogenous CRIK is indicated by in vitro kinase assays after immunoprecipitation with antibodies recognizing the Citron moiety of the protein. When expressed in keratinocytes, full-length CRIK, but not CRIK-SK, localizes into corpuscular cytoplasmic structures and elicits recruitment of actin into these structures. The previously reported Rho-associated kinases ROCK I and II are ubiquitously expressed. In contrast, CRIK exhibits a restricted pattern of expression, suggesting that this kinase may fulfill a more specialized function in specific cell types.

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