Characterization of hNek6 Interactome Reveals an Important Role for Its Short N-terminal Domain and Colocalization With Proteins at the Centrosome

J Proteome Res. 2010 Dec 3;9(12):6298-316. doi: 10.1021/pr100562w. Epub 2010 Oct 22.


Physical protein-protein interactions are fundamental to all biological processes and are organized in complex networks. One branch of the kinome network is the evolutionarily conserved NIMA-related serine/threonine kinases (Neks). Most of the 11 mammalian Neks studied so far are related to cell cycle regulation, and due to association with diverse human pathologies, Neks are promising chemotherapeutic targets. Human Nek6 was associated to carcinogenesis, but its interacting partners and signaling pathways remain elusive. Here we introduce hNek6 as a highly connected member in the human kinase interactome. In a more global context, we performed a broad data bank comparison based on degree distribution analysis and found that the human kinome is enriched in hubs. Our networks include a broad set of novel hNek6 interactors as identified by our yeast two-hybrid screens classified into 18 functional categories. All of the tested interactions were confirmed, and the majority of tested substrates were phosphorylated in vitro by hNek6. Notably, we found that hNek6 N-terminal is important to mediate the interactions with its partners. Some novel interactors also colocalized with hNek6 and γ-tubulin in human cells, pointing to a possible centrosomal interaction. The interacting proteins link hNek6 to novel pathways, for example, Notch signaling and actin cytoskeleton regulation, or give new insights on how hNek6 may regulate previously proposed pathways such as cell cycle regulation, DNA repair response, and NF-κB signaling. Our findings open new perspectives in the study of hNek6 role in cancer by analyzing its novel interactions in specific pathways in tumor cells, which may provide important implications for drug design and cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Carrier Proteins / classification
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Centrosome / metabolism*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Models, Biological
  • NIMA-Related Kinases
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tubulin / genetics
  • Tubulin / metabolism
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Tubulin
  • NEK6 protein, human
  • NIMA-Related Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases