Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a neurological disorder that selectively affects motor neurons of brain and spinal cord. Emerging evidence indicates an involvement of the serine/threonine-cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) in the pathogenesis. Deregulation of Cdk5 by its truncated co-activators, p25 and p29, contributes to neurodegeneration by altering the phosphorylation state of cytosolic and cytoskeletal proteins and, possibly, through the induction of cell cycle regulators. The present paper reviews these findings and proposes new perspectives to decipher the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis induced by Cdk5.
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