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Gene Review

NEK1  -  NIMA-related kinase 1

Homo sapiens

Synonyms: KIAA1901, NY-REN-55, Never in mitosis A-related kinase 1, NimA-related protein kinase 1, Renal carcinoma antigen NY-REN-55, ...
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Disease relevance of NEK1

  • The pleiotropic deleterious effects and the formation of kidney cysts caused by NEK1 mutation in mice emphasize its involvement in the regulation of diverse cellular processes and in the etiology of polycystic kidney disease (PKD), respectively [1].

High impact information on NEK1

  • In situ RNA analysis of nek1 expression in mouse gonads revealed a high level of expression in both male and female germ cells, with a distribution consistent with a role in meiosis [2].
  • The complex pleiotropic phenotypes seen in the homozygous mutant animals suggest that the NEK1 protein participates in different signaling pathways to regulate diverse cellular processes [3].
  • The TbNRKC kinase domain has high amino acid identity with the human NEK1 kinase domain (50%) but also shares 42% identity with human NEK2 [4].
  • By contrast, Nek1 and Nek8 have been linked with polycystic kidney disease [5].
  • To this end, we isolated a murine nek2 cDNA and compared its patterns of expression, during both gametogenesis and embryogenesis, to those of nek1 [6].

Biological context of NEK1

  • Here we report the identification of proteins that interacted with the human NEK1 protein kinase in a yeast two-hybrid screen of a human fetal brain cDNA library, using the catalytic and regulatory domains of NEK1 separately as baits [1].

Anatomical context of NEK1

  • Surprisingly, a striking specificity of nek1 expression was found: high levels of nek1 RNA were observed in distinct regions of the nervous system, most notably in neurons of the peripheral ganglia [6].

Associations of NEK1 with chemical compounds

  • While the complexity of the two families of mitotic kinases, Polo and Aurora, is close to that found in the nematode, the diversity of the NIMA-related kinases (NEK proteins) approaches that of vertebrates [7].


  1. Identification of proteins that interact with the central coiled-coil region of the human protein kinase NEK1. Surpili, M.J., Delben, T.M., Kobarg, J. Biochemistry (2003) [Pubmed]
  2. A mammalian dual specificity protein kinase, Nek1, is related to the NIMA cell cycle regulator and highly expressed in meiotic germ cells. Letwin, K., Mizzen, L., Motro, B., Ben-David, Y., Bernstein, A., Pawson, T. EMBO J. (1992) [Pubmed]
  3. Mutations in a NIMA-related kinase gene, Nek1, cause pleiotropic effects including a progressive polycystic kidney disease in mice. Upadhya, P., Birkenmeier, E.H., Birkenmeier, C.S., Barker, J.E. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2000) [Pubmed]
  4. NIMA-related kinase TbNRKC is involved in basal body separation in Trypanosoma brucei. Pradel, L.C., Bonhivers, M., Landrein, N., Robinson, D.R. J. Cell. Sci. (2006) [Pubmed]
  5. Caught Nek-ing: cilia and centrioles. Quarmby, L.M., Mahjoub, M.R. J. Cell. Sci. (2005) [Pubmed]
  6. Murine NIMA-related kinases are expressed in patterns suggesting distinct functions in gametogenesis and a role in the nervous system. Arama, E., Yanai, A., Kilfin, G., Bernstein, A., Motro, B. Oncogene (1998) [Pubmed]
  7. The genomic repertoire for cell cycle control and DNA metabolism in S. purpuratus. Fernandez-Guerra, A., Aze, A., Morales, J., Mulner-Lorillon, O., Cosson, B., Cormier, P., Bradham, C., Adams, N., Robertson, A.J., Marzluff, W.F., Coffman, J.A., Genevi??re, A.M. Dev. Biol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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