Structure and function of cellular deoxyribonucleoside kinases

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2002 Aug;59(8):1327-46. doi: 10.1007/s00018-002-8511-x.


Deoxyribonucleoside kinases phosphorylate deoxyribonucleosides, a crucial reaction in biosynthesis of DNA precursors through the salvage pathway. Their medical interest stems from their activation of a number of anticancer and antiviral drugs such as 2-chloro-2'-deoxyadenosine, azidothymidine and acyclovir. Here we review what is presently known about each of the mammalian kinases as well as some other members of the deoxyribonucleoside kinase family. A description of the biochemical properties of the enzymes is followed by an overview of the structural studies made on this family of enzymes, including the catalytic mechanism as well as the mechanism for feedback inhibition. A presentation of homology models of other proteins in the family is made and, finally, the determinants of substrate and substrate analog specificities are described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phosphotransferases (Alcohol Group Acceptor) / chemistry
  • Phosphotransferases (Alcohol Group Acceptor) / physiology*
  • Protein Conformation


  • Phosphotransferases (Alcohol Group Acceptor)
  • deoxyribonucleoside kinases