Cyclin-dependent Kinase 5 (Cdk5) Activation Domain of Neuronal Cdk5 Activator
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Neuronal Cdk5 activator (Nck5a) differs from other cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) activators in that its amino acid sequence is only marginally similar to the cyclin consensus sequence. Nevertheless, computer modeling has suggested that Nck5a contains the cyclin-fold motif recently identified in the crystal structure of cyclin A. In the present study, a number of truncation mutants and substitution mutants of the Nck5a were produced and tested for the Cdk5 activation and Cdk5 binding activity. The active domain of Nck5a determined by using the truncation mutants consists of the region spanning residues 150 to 291. The size of Nck5a active domain is essentially the same as that of cyclin A required for Cdk2 activation (Lees, E. M., and Harlow, E. (1993) Mol. Cell. Biol. 13, 1194-1201). The change, or the lack of change, in Cdk5 activation activity observed with a number of substitution mutants may be understood on the basis of structure and function relationship of cyclin A. These results provide support to the previous suggestion (Brown, N. R., Noble, M. E. M., Endicott, J. A., Garman, E. F., Wakatsuki, S., Mitchell, E., Rasmussen, B., Hunt, T., and Johnson, L. N. (1995) Structure 3, 1235-1247) that the activation domain of Nck5a adopts a conformation similar to that of cyclin A. They also provide a partial answer to the question of how Nck5a, a non-cyclin, activates a cyclin-dependent kinase.
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