MNB/DYRK1A is a member of the dual-specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinase (DYRK) family that has been strongly conserved across evolution. There are substantial data implicating MNB/DYRK1A in brain development and adult brain function, as well as in neurodegeneration and Down syndrome pathologies. Here we review our current understanding of the neurodevelopmental activity of MNB/DYRK1A. We discuss how MNB/DYRK1A fulfils several sequential roles in neuronal development and the molecular mechanisms possibly underlying these functions. We also summarize the evidence behind the hypotheses to explain how the imbalance in MNB/DYRK1A gene dosage might be implicated in the neurodevelopmental alterations associated with Down syndrome. Finally, we highlight some research directions that may help to clarify the mechanisms and functions of MNB/DYRK1A signalling in the developing brain.
© 2010 The Authors Journal compilation © 2010 FEBS.