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J Biol Chem. 1996 Feb 16;271(7):3488-95.

Dyrk, a dual specificity protein kinase with unique structural features whose activity is dependent on tyrosine residues between subdomains VII and VIII.

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Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, D-52057 Aachen, Federal Republic of Germany.


The cDNA of a novel, ubiquitously expressed protein kinase (Dyrk) was cloned from a rat brain cDNA library. The deduced amino acid sequence (763 amino acids) contains a catalytic domain that is only distantly related to that of other mammalian protein kinases. Its closest relative is the protein kinase Mnb of Drosophila, which is presumably involved in postembryonic neurogenesis (85% identical amino acids within the catalytic domain). Outside the catalytic domain, the sequence comprises several striking structural features: a bipartite nuclear translocation signal, a tyrosine-rich hydrophilic motif flanking the nuclear localization signal, a PEST region, a repeat of 13 histidines, a repeat of 17 serine/threonine residues, and an alternatively spliced insertion of nine codons. A recombinant glutathione S-transferase-Dyrk fusion protein catalyzed autophosphorylation and histone phosphorylation on tyrosine and serine/threonine residues with an apparent Km of approximately 3.4 microM. Exchange of two tyrosine residues in the "activation loop" between subdomains VII and VIII for phenylalanine almost completely suppressed the activity and tyrosine autophosphorylation of Dyrk. Tyrosine autophosphorylation was also reduced by exchange of the tyrosine (Tyr-219) in a tyrosine phosphorylation consensus motif. The data suggest that Dyrk is a dual specificity protein kinase that is regulated by tyrosine phosphorylation in the activation loop and might be a component of a signaling pathway regulating nuclear functions.

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