Nek8, a NIMA family kinase member, is overexpressed in primary human breast tumors

Gene. 2004 Mar 17;328:135-42. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2003.12.002.


The family of human Nek (NIMA Related Kinase) kinases currently contains 11 members. We have identified Nek8 as a new member of the Nek kinase family. For many of the Nek family members, primary tumor expression data and function have been limited. However, all of the Nek family proteins share considerable homology with the Never In Mitosis, gene A (NIMA) kinase from the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans. NIMA, as well as its most closely related human ortholog, Nek2, are required for G(2)/M progression and promote centrosome maturation during mitosis. We isolated Nek8 from a primary human colon cDNA library, and found it to be highly homologous to murine Nek8. Recently, a previously named Nek8 sequence was renamed Nek9/Nercc1 in Genbank due to its lack of homology to murine Nek8 and its high homology to murine Nek9. Interestingly, in our study, phylogenetic analysis suggests that human Nek8 and Nek9 form a subfamily within the Nek family. Nek8 has high homology to the Nek family kinase domain as well as to a regulator of chromosome condensation domain (RCC1), which is also present in Nek9. The open reading frame of human Nek8 encodes a 692 amino-acid protein with a calculated molecular weight of 75 kDa. Nek8 is differently expressed between normal human breast tissue and breast tumors. Overexpression of a mutated kinase domain Nek8 in U2-0S cells led to a decrease in actin protein, and a small increase in the level of cdk1/cyclinB1. Our data demonstrate for the first time that Nek8 is a novel tumor associated gene, and shares considerable sequence homology with the Nek family of protein kinases and may be involved in G(2)/M progression.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Binding Sites / genetics
  • Blotting, Western
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • CDC2 Protein Kinase / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cyclin B / metabolism
  • Cyclin B1
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • DNA, Complementary / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • NIMA-Related Kinases
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Kinases / genetics*
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Transfection


  • Actins
  • CCNB1 protein, human
  • Cyclin B
  • Cyclin B1
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Protein Kinases
  • NEK8 protein, human
  • NIMA-Related Kinases
  • CDC2 Protein Kinase