Serine-arginine protein kinases: a small protein kinase family with a large cellular presence
Serine-arginine protein kinases (SPRKs) constitute a relatively novel subfamily of serine-threonine kinases that specifically phosphorylate serine residues residing in serine-arginine/arginine-serine dipeptide motifs. Fifteen years of research subsequent to the purification and cloning of human SRPK1 as a SR splicing factor-phosphorylating protein have lead to the accumulation of information on the function and regulation of the different members of this family, as well as on the genomic organization of SRPK genes in several organisms. Originally considered to be devoted to constitutive and alternative mRNA splicing, SRPKs are now known to expand their influence to additional steps of mRNA maturation, as well as to other cellular activities, such as chromatin reorganization in somatic and sperm cells, cell cycle and p53 regulation, and metabolic signalling. Similarly, SRPKs were considered to be constitutively active kinases, although several modes of regulation of their function have been demonstrated, implying an elaborate cellular control of their activity. Finally, SRPK gene sequence information from bioinformatics data reveals that SRPK gene homologs exist either in single or multiple copies in every single eukaryotic organism tested, emphasizing the importance of SRPK protein function for cellular life.
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