NEKs, NIMA-Related Kinases
The NIMA-related kinase, or “Nek,” family constitutes approximately 2% of all human kinases. They are related in sequence, as their name suggests, to NIMA (699 residues, 80 kDa), a serine/threonine protein kinase present in the filamentous fungus, Aspergillus nidulans. Ron Morris identified the gene, nimA, through analysis of a temperature-sensitive loss-of-function mutant that was never in mitosis (nim) when cells were incubated at the restrictive temperature (Morris 1975). Loss of NIMA activity led to G2 arrest, while overexpression of NIMA drove cells into a premature mitosis from any point in the cell cycle (Oakley and Morris 1983; Osmani et al. 1988, 1991). Mechanistically, NIMA is likely to regulate multiple aspects of mitotic entry, with evidence that its activity is required for nuclear pore disassembly, relocalization of the master regulator, cdc2-cyclin B, to...
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