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Oncogene. 2002 Sep 9;21(40):6184-94.

The Nek2 protein kinase: a novel regulator of centrosome structure.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK.


Regulation of the centrosome, the major microtubule organizing centre in an animal cell, is in large part controlled by cell cycle-dependent protein phosphorylation. Along with cyclin dependent kinases, polo kinases and Aurora kinases, NIMA-related kinases are emerging as critical regulators of centrosome structure and function. Nek2 is the most closely related vertebrate protein by sequence to the essential mitotic regulator NIMA of Aspergillus nidulans. Nek2 is highly enriched at the centrosome and functional studies in human and Xenopus systems support a role for Nek2 in both maintenance and modulation of centrosome architecture. In particular, current evidence supports a model in which one function of Nek2 kinase activity is to promote the splitting of duplicated centrosomes at the onset of mitosis through phosphorylation of core centriolar proteins. Recent studies in lower organisms have raised the possibility that kinases related to Nek2 may have conserved functions in MTOC organization, as well as in other aspects of mitotic progression.

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