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Biochem Cell Biol. 2010 Aug;88(4):559-64. doi: 10.1139/O09-160.

Choline kinase and its function.

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The Group on the Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids and the Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.


Choline kinase (CK) was discovered in 1953. Progress in understanding the function of CK was slow until its purification in 1984. The subsequent cloning and expression of the cDNA led to the description of the gene structures. Two genes encode choline kinase, Chka and Chkb, and 3 isoforms of the enzyme have been identified - CKalpha-1, CKalpha-2, and CKbeta - and the active form of CK is a hetero- or homo-dimer. More recently, gene-disrupted mice have been described. Mice that lack CKalpha die early in embryogenesis. In contrast, mice that lack CKbeta survive to adulthood, but develop hindlimb muscular dystrophy and forelimb bone deformity. It has been shown that this hindlimb muscular dystrophy is due to decreased biosynthesis of phosphatidylcholine and increased catabolism of phosphatidylcholine in the hindlimbs, but not the forelimbs, of mice. CK and its product phosphocholine have also been implicated in development of numerous cancers. Thus, a possible treatment for some kinds of cancer may involve drug inhibition of CK or targeting the expression of CK with RNA interference. In the mid 1950s it was clear that CK was important for the biosynthesis of phosphatidylcholine, but no one predicted a role for CK in muscular dystrophy, bone deformities, or cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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