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J Biol Chem. 1994 Dec 9;269(49):30808-17.

Identification, molecular cloning, and characterization of dual leucine zipper bearing kinase. A novel serine/threonine protein kinase that defines a second subfamily of mixed lineage kinases.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor 48109-0676.


Molecular cloning using a degenerate oligonucleotide-based polymerase chain reaction was undertaken to test the possibility that novel, developmentally regulated protein kinases are expressed in the embryonic mouse kidney. Several receptor tyrosine kinase and serine/threonine kinase cDNA clones were identified. One of these, designated DLK, represented a novel gene product whose 3.6-kilobase transcript was expressed in a tissue-specific and developmentally regulated fashion. Several clones encoding the entire open reading frame were isolated and sequenced. The identified open reading frame encodes an 888-amino acid polypeptide that defines a new subfamily within the mixed lineage protein kinase family. Sequence analysis revealed: 1) a kinase catalytic domain most characteristic of serine/threonine kinases but hybrid between members of the family of microtubule-associated protein kinase kinase kinases and the fibroblast growth factor receptor family; 2) two putative alpha-helical leucine zipper motifs separated by a 25-amino acid charged intermediate segment but lacking an NH2-terminal basic domain; and 3) COOH-terminal and NH2-terminal proline-rich domains suggestive of src homology 3 (SH3) domain binding regions. Rabbit polyclonal immune sera generated against a carboxyl-terminal bacterial fusion protein recognized a protein with an apparent molecular mass of 130 kDa in COS 7 cells that were transiently transfected with a full-length DLK cDNA expression vector. Moreover, COS 7 cells transiently transfected with an epitope-tagged DLK expression vector expressed protein with an apparent molecular mass of 130 kDa that became autophosphorylated on serine and threonine in an in vitro kinase assay.

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