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Front Biosci. 2008 May 1;13:5359-73.

The Mnks: MAP kinase-interacting kinases (MAP kinase signal-integrating kinases).

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Immunopathology Unit, Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Pompeu Fabra University, Doctor Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.


The human MAP kinase-interacting kinases (or MAP kinase signal-integrating kinases), Mnks, comprise a group of four proteins derived from two genes (Gene symbols: MKNK1 and MKNK2) by alternative splicing. Mnk1a/b differ at their C-termini, as do Mnk2a/2b: in each case, the a-form possesses a longer C-terminal region than the b-form, which lacks the MAP kinase-binding region. The N-termini of all forms contain a polybasic region which binds importin a and the translation factor scaffold protein eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 4G. The catalytic domains of Mnk1a/b and Mnk2a/b share three unusual features: two short inserts and a DFD feature where other kinases have DFG. Mnk isoforms differ markedly in their activity and regulation, and in subcellular localization. The best-characterised Mnk substrate is eIF4E. The cellular role of eIF4E phosphorylation remains unclear: it may promote export of certain mRNAs from the nucleus. Other Mnk substrates bind to AU-rich elements that modulate the stability/translation of specific mRNAs. Mnks may also control production of inflammatory mediators and signaling from tyrosine kinase receptors, as well as cell proliferation or survival.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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