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J Biol Chem. 1996 Mar 15;271(11):6403-10.

Characterization of the G protein-coupled receptor kinase GRK4. Identification of four splice variants.

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  • 1Department of Medicine (Cardiology), Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


A novel human G protein-coupled receptor kinase was recently identified by positional cloning in the search for the Huntington's disease locus (Ambrose, C., James, M., Barnes, G., Lin, C., Bates, G., Altherr, M., Duyao, M., Groot, N., Church, D., Wasmuth, J. J., Lehrach, H., Housman, D., Buckler, A., Gusella, J. F., and MacDonald, M. E. (1993) Hum. Mol. Genet. 1, 697-703). Comparison of the deduced amino acid sequence of GRK4 with those of the closely related GRK5 and GRK6 suggested the apparent loss of 32 codons in the amino-terminal domain and 46 codons in the carboxyl-terminal domain of GRK4. These two regions undergo alternative splicing in the GRK4 mRNA, resulting from the presence or absence of exons filling one or both of these apparent gaps. Each inserted sequence maintains the open reading frame, and the deduced amino acid sequences are similar to corresponding regions of GRK5 and GRK6. Thus, the GRK4 mRNA and the GRK4 protein can exist as four distinct variant forms. The human GRK4 gene is composed of 16 exons extending over 75 kilobase pairs of DNA. The two alternatively spliced exons correspond to exons II and XV. The genomic organization of the GRK4 gene is completely distinct from that of the human GRK2 gene, highlighting the evolutionary distance since the divergence of these two genes. Human GRK4 mRNA is expressed highly only in testis, and both alternative exons are abundant in testis mRNA. The four GRK4 proteins have been expressed, and all incorporate [3H]palmitate. GRK4 is capable of augmenting the desensitization of the rat luteinizing hormone/chorionic gonadotropin receptor upon coexpression in HEK293 cells and of phosphorylating the agonist-occupied, purified beta2-adrenergic receptor, indicating that GRK4 is a functional protein kinase.

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