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J Biol Chem. 1995 Oct 20;270(42):25070-8.

Molecular cloning of a new member of the p21-Cdc42/Rac-activated kinase (PAK) family.

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Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, National University of Singapore, Kent Ridge, Singapore.


A number of "target" proteins for the Rho family of small GTP-binding proteins have now been identified, including the protein kinases ACK and p65PAK (Manser, E., Leung, T., Salihuddin, H., Zhao, Z.-S., and Lim, L. (1994) Nature 367, 40-46). The purified serine/threonine kinase p65PAK has been shown to be directly activated by GTP-Rac1 or GTP-Cdc42. Here we report the cDNA sequence encoding a new brain-enriched PAK isoform beta-PAK, which shares 79% amino acid identity with the previously described alpha-isoform. Their mRNAs are differentially expressed in the brain, with alpha-PAK mRNA being particularly abundant in motor-associated regions. In vitro translation products of the alpha- and beta-PAK cDNAs exhibited relative molecular masses of 68,000 and 65,000, respectively, by SDS-polyacrylamide analysis. A specific beta-PAK peptide sequence was obtained from rat brain-purified p65PAK. Recombinant alpha- and beta-PAKs exhibited an increase in kinase activity mediated by GTP-p21 induced autophosphorylation. Cdc42 was a more potent activator in vitro of alpha-PAK kinase, and the fully activated enzyme is 300 times more active than the unphosphorylated form. Interestingly the down-regulation in the binding of p21s to recombinant beta-PAK and brain p65PAK, which is observed upon kinase activation does not occur with recombinant alpha-PAK.

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