Comparative studies of a new subfamily of human Ste20-like kinases: Homodimerization, subcellular localization, and selective activation of MKK3 and p38

Jason T. Yustein, Liang Xia, J. Michelle Kahlenburg, Dan Robinson, Dennis Templeton, Hsing-Jien Kung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


The Sterile-20 or Ste20 family of serine/threonine kinases is a group of signaling molecules whose physiological roles within mammalian cells are just starting to be elucidated. Here, in this report we present the characterization of three human Ste20-like kinases with greater than 90% similarity within their catalytic domains that define a novel subfamily of Ste20s. Members of this kinase family include rat thousand and one (TAO1) and chicken KFC (kinase from chicken). For the lack of a consensus nomenclature in the literature, in this report, we shall call this family hKFC (for their homology to chicken KFC) and the three members hKFC-A, hKFC-B, and hKFC-C, respectively. These kinases have many similarities including an aminoterminal kinase domain, a serine-rich region, and a coiled-coil configuration within the C-terminus. All three kinases are able to activate the p38 MAP kinase pathway through the specific activation of the upstream MKK3 kinase. We also offer evidence, both theoretical and biochemical, showing that these kinases can undergo self-association. Despite these similarities, these kinases differ in tissue distribution, apparent subcellular localization, and feature structural differences largely within the carboxyl-terminal sequence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6129-6141
Number of pages13
Issue number40
StatePublished - Sep 18 2003



  • p38 MAPK
  • Ste20 kinase
  • TAO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics

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