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Neurosignals. 2003 Sep-Oct;12(4-5):164-72.

The structural perspective on CDK5.

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Structural Biology Unit, Department of Experimental Oncology, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.


Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) plays an essential role in the development of the central nervous system during mammalian embryogenesis. In the adult, CDK5 is required for the maintenance of neuronal architecture. Its deregulation has profound cytotoxic effects and has been implicated in the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In this review, we concentrate on the regulation of CDK5 activity, privileging a structural perspective based on a decade of structural analyses of different members of the CDK family, including CDK2 and CDK5. We review the activation mechanism of CDK5 and discuss its differences and similarities with that of CDK2 and of the other members of the CDK family.

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