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J Biol Chem. 1998 Oct 2;273(40):25893-902.

Sequence characteristics, subcellular localization, and substrate specificity of DYRK-related kinases, a novel family of dual specificity protein kinases.

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  • 1Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, RWTH Aachen, D-52057 Aachen, Germany.


DYRK1 is a dual specificity protein kinase presumably involved in brain development. Here we show that the kinase belongs to a new family of protein kinases comprising at least seven mammalian isoforms (DYRK1A, DYRK1B, DYRK1C, DYRK2, DYRK3, DYRK4A, and DYRK4B), the yeast homolog Yak1p, and the Drosophila kinase minibrain (MNB). In rat tissues, DYRK1A is expressed ubiquitously, whereas transcripts for DYRK1B, DYRK2, DYRK3, and DYRK4 were detected predominantly in testes of adult but not prepuberal rats. By fluorescence microscopy and subcellular fractionation, a green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion protein of DYRK1A was found to accumulate in the nucleus of transfected COS-7 and HEK293 cells, whereas GFP-DYRK2 was predominantly detected in the cytoplasm. DYRK1A exhibited a punctate pattern of GFP fluorescence inside the nucleus and was co-purified with the nuclear matrix. Analysis of GFP-DYRK1A deletion constructs showed that the nuclear localization of DYRK1A was mediated by its nuclear targeting signal (amino acids 105-139) but that its characteristic subnuclear distribution depended on additional N-terminal elements (amino acids 1-104). When expressed in Escherichia coli, DYRK1A, DYRK2, DYRK3, MNB, and Yak1p catalyzed their autophosphorylation on tyrosine residues. The kinases differed in their substrate specificity in that DYRK2 and DYRK3, but not DYRK1A and MNB, catalyzed phosphorylation of histone H2B. The heterogeneity of their subcellular localization and substrate specificity suggests that the kinases are involved in different cellular functions.

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