Never say never. The NIMA-related protein kinases in mitotic control

Trends Cell Biol. 2003 May;13(5):221-8. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8924(03)00056-4.


Mitosis sees a massive reorganization of cellular architecture. The microtubule cytoskeleton is reorganized to form a bipolar spindle between duplicated microtubule organizing centers, the chromosomes are condensed, attached to the spindle at their kinetochores, and, through the action of multiple molecular motors, the chromosomes are segregated into two daughter cells. Mitosis also sees a substantial wave of protein phosphorylation, controlling signaling events that coordinate mitotic processes and ensure accurate chromosome segregation. The key switch for the onset of mitosis is the archetypal cyclin-dependent kinase, Cdc2. Under the direction of Cdc2 is an executive of protein serine/threonine kinases that fall into three families: the Polo kinases, Aurora kinases and the NIMA-related kinases (Nrk). The latter family has proven the most enigmatic in function, although recent advances from several sources are beginning to reveal a common functional theme.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aspergillus nidulans / metabolism
  • CDC2 Protein Kinase / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle Proteins*
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Fungal Proteins / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Kinetochores / metabolism
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases / metabolism
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Mitosis*
  • Models, Biological
  • NIMA-Related Kinase 1
  • NIMA-Related Kinases
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / physiology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces / metabolism
  • Spindle Apparatus / metabolism


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Fungal Proteins
  • NEK1 protein, human
  • NEK2 protein, human
  • NEK9 protein, human
  • NIMA-Related Kinase 1
  • NIMA-Related Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • fin1 protein, S pombe
  • CDC2 Protein Kinase
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases
  • mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase 11