The Mnks: MAP kinase-interacting kinases (MAP kinase signal-integrating kinases)

Front Biosci. 2008 May 1:13:5359-73. doi: 10.2741/3086.


The human MAP kinase-interacting kinases (or MAP kinase signal-integrating kinases), Mnks, comprise a group of four proteins derived from two genes (Gene symbols: MKNK1 and MKNK2) by alternative splicing. Mnk1a/b differ at their C-termini, as do Mnk2a/2b: in each case, the a-form possesses a longer C-terminal region than the b-form, which lacks the MAP kinase-binding region. The N-termini of all forms contain a polybasic region which binds importin a and the translation factor scaffold protein eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 4G. The catalytic domains of Mnk1a/b and Mnk2a/b share three unusual features: two short inserts and a DFD feature where other kinases have DFG. Mnk isoforms differ markedly in their activity and regulation, and in subcellular localization. The best-characterised Mnk substrate is eIF4E. The cellular role of eIF4E phosphorylation remains unclear: it may promote export of certain mRNAs from the nucleus. Other Mnk substrates bind to AU-rich elements that modulate the stability/translation of specific mRNAs. Mnks may also control production of inflammatory mediators and signaling from tyrosine kinase receptors, as well as cell proliferation or survival.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Animals
  • Cell Survival
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4E / metabolism
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4E
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Protein Kinases
  • MKNK1 protein, human
  • MKNK2 protein, human
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases