Structure and function of choline kinase isoforms in mammalian cells

Prog Lipid Res. 2004 May;43(3):266-81. doi: 10.1016/j.plipres.2003.12.001.


Choline kinase (CK) catalyzes the first phosphorylation reaction in the CDP-choline pathway for the biosynthesis of phosphatidylcholine (PC), yielding phosphocholine (P-Cho) from choline and ATP in the presence of Mg(2+). This enzyme exists in mammalian cells as at least three isoforms that are encoded by two separate genes termed ck-alpha and ck-beta. Each isoform is not active in its monomeric form. The active enzyme consists of either their homo- or hetero-dimeric (or oligomeric) forms. In recent years, the roles of CK in cell growth and cell stress/defense mechanisms have been intensely investigated. These functions of CK do not seem to be directly related to the net PC biosynthesis but predict another important role of this enzyme in certain cell physiology. This review summarizes briefly the recent progress of mammalian CK study which will include the gene structure of each isoform and its possible transcriptional regulation, the active configuration of the enzyme, induction of the particular isoform in chemically induced cell stress, and the possible role of this enzyme as well as of its reaction product, P-Cho, in cell growth and other cellular physiology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Choline / analogs & derivatives*
  • Choline / metabolism
  • Choline Kinase / chemistry
  • Choline Kinase / genetics
  • Choline Kinase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Isomerism
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Mammals / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylcholines / metabolism
  • Phosphorylcholine / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Tissue Distribution / physiology


  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Phosphatidylcholines
  • Phosphorylcholine
  • phosphonium choline
  • Choline Kinase
  • Choline