Isolation and characterization of two evolutionarily conserved murine kinases (Nek6 and nek7) related to the fungal mitotic regulator, NIMA.

PMID 10964517


Entrance and exit from mitosis in Aspergillus nidulans require activation and proteolysis, respectively, of the NIMA (never in mitosis, gene A) serine/threonine kinase. Four different NIMA-related kinases were reported in mammals (Nek1-4), but none of them has been shown to perform mitotic functions related to those demonstrated for NIMA. We describe here the isolation of two novel murine protein kinase genes, designated nek6 and nek7, which are highly similar to each other (87% amino acid identity in the predicted kinase domain). Interestingly, Nek6 and Nek7 are also highly similar to the F19H6.1 protein kinase of Caenorhabditis elegans (76 and 73% amino acid identity in the kinase domain, respectively), and phylogenetic analysis suggests that these three proteins constitute a novel subfamily within the NIMA family of serine/threonine kinases. In contrast to the other documented NIMA-related kinases, Nek6/7 and F19H6.1 harbor their catalytic domain in the C-terminus of the protein. Immunofluorescence suggests that Nek6 and Nek7 are cytoplasmic. Linkage analysis, using the murine BXD recombinant inbred strain panel, localized nek6 to chromosome 2 at 28 cM. Using a mouse/hamster radiation hybrid panel, we assigned the nek7 gene to chromosome 1 at approximately 73 cM.