NEKs (NIMA-related kinases) are a group of protein kinases sharing high amino acid sequence identities with NIMA (never in mitosis gene a) which control mitosis in Aspergillus nidulans. We have cloned a cDNA for human NEK3, a novel human gene structurally related to NIMA, by RT-PCR. Its open reading frame encodes a protein of 489 amino acid residues with the calculated molecular mass of 56.0 kDa and a predicted pI of 6.58. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that mouse and human NEK3s constitute a subfamily within the NIMA family of protein kinases. The expression pattern of NEK3 was studied by RT-PCR and a high level of expression was detected in testis, ovary, and brain, with low-level expression being detected in most of the tissues studied. NEK3 mRNA was detected in all the proliferating cell lines studied, and the amount did not change during the cell cycle. The human NEK3 gene was assigned to human chromosome 13 by somatic cell hybrids and 13q14.2 by radiation hybrid mapping.
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