We previously identified a novel protein kinase, Hunk, by means of a degenerate PCR screen designed to isolate kinases expressed in the murine mammary gland. We now describe the molecular cloning, chromosomal localization, and activity of this kinase and characterize its spatial and temporal pattern of expression in the mouse. We have isolated a 5.0-kb full-length cDNA clone that contains the 714-amino-acid open reading frame encoding Hunk. Analysis of this cDNA reveals that Hunk is most closely related to the SNF1 family of serine/threonine kinases and contains a newly described SNF1 homology domain. Accordingly, antisera specific for Hunk detect an 80-kDa polypeptide with associated phosphotransferase activity. Hunk is located on distal mouse chromosome 16 in a region of conserved synteny with human chromosome 21q22. During fetal development and in the adult mouse, Hunk mRNA expression is developmentally regulated and tissue- specific. Moreover, in situ hybridization analysis reveals that Hunk expression is restricted to subsets of cells within a variety of organs in the adult mouse. These findings suggest a role for Hunk in murine development. (C) 2000 Academic Press.
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