Alexey G. Ryazanov
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Room 443
Department of Pharmacology
675 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, NJ 08854
We have recently discovered a new class of protein kinases -- alpha-kinases. Alpha-kinases play an important role in the control of protein synthesis, cell growth and differentiation. One of the alpha-kinases, elongation factor-2 kinase (eEF2 kinase) can regulate the global rate of protein synthesis and is implicated in cancer and aging. Two other alpha-kinases that we recently identified represent a novel type of signaling molecule that consists of a protein kinase fused to an ion channel (channel-kinases). Why would a kinase and an ion channel be contained in one molecule? Is the channel activity controlled by the kinase, or is the kinase controlled by ion flow through the channel? What is the physiological role of channel-kinases and other alpha-kinases? We are using molecular biological, cell biological, and bioinformatic approaches as well as transgenic animals to investigate the structure and function of these fascinating molecules.