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Gene. 2007 Nov 1;402(1-2):57-67. Epub 2007 Aug 2.

Molecular and functional characterization of EhPAK3, a p21 activated kinase from Entamoeba histolytica.

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Crystallography & Molecular Biology Division, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, 1/AF Bidhan nagar, Kolkata-700064, India.


p21-activated kinases (PAKs) are a family of serine/threonine kinases whose activity is regulated by the binding of the small Rho family GTPases as well as by RhoGTPase independent mechanisms. PAKs have wide-ranging functions which include cytoskeletal organisation, cell motility, cell proliferation and survival. We have identified a PAK from Entamoeba histolytica - EhPAK3 that is distributed in the cytoplasm of unstimulated cells and localizes to the caps after induction of capping with Concanavalin A. EhPAK3 contains a GTPase interacting (CRIB) domain, an N-terminal pleckstrin homology (PH) domain and a C-terminal kinase domain. Among the PAKs of E. histolytica studied so far, EhPAK3 bears the maximum similarity to Dictyostelium discoideum PAKC (DdPAKC). Phylogenetic analysis showed that EhPAK3 was closely related to DdPAKC and forms a group with DdPAKA, Dd Myosin I heavy chain kinase (DdMIHCK), and a PAK reported earlier from E. histolytica EhPAK2. Recombinant full-length EhPAK3 undergoes auotophosphorylation and phosphorylates histone H1 in vitro in the absence of any small GTPase. This is the first comprehensive characterization of a PAK protein from E. histolytica, which has constitutive activity and has demonstrated a strong involvement in receptor capping.

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