Using targeted RNA interference, or RNAi libraries, researchers at Harvard Medical School describe the first large-scale classification of kinase and phosphatase gene families on the basis of their role in apoptosis and cell survival. This study appears in the June issue of Nature Cell Biology.
Jeffrey MacKeigan, former HMS research fellow in cell biology now working at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, and colleagues utilized RNAi to systematically screen the kinase and phosphatase component of the human genome. They found that 11 percent of kinases control cell survival. As expected, this research identified known survival kinases (such as SGK, AKT2, and PKC), members of the AGC family of kinases, and several novel regulators of apoptosis and chemoresistance.
"Interestingly, 32 percent of phosphatases and their regulatory subunits contribute to cell survival," said MacKeigan, "revealing a previously unrecognized general role for phosphatases as negative regulators of apoptosis. This is important because phosphatases cannot be simply viewed as enzymes that oppose the action of kinases and can have a positive role in cell survival."
Leah Gourley | EurekAlert!
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