Going out of the brain: non-nervous system physiological and pathological functions of Cdk5

Cell Signal. 2012 Jan;24(1):44-52. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2011.08.022. Epub 2011 Sep 8.


Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) is a proline-directed serine/threonine kinase that is mostly active in the nervous system, where it regulates several processes such as neuronal migration, actin and microtubule dynamics, axonal guidance, and synaptic plasticity, among other processes. In addition to these known functions, in the past few years, novel roles for Cdk5 outside of the nervous system have been proposed. These include roles in gene transcription, vesicular transport, apoptosis, cell adhesion, and migration in many cell types and tissues such as pancreatic cells, muscle cells, neutrophils, and others. In this review, we will summarize the recently studied non-neuronal functions of Cdk5, with a thorough analysis of the biological consequences of these novel roles.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Movement
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 5 / metabolism
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 5 / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Muscle Development
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Protein Isoforms / physiology
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Transport Vesicles / metabolism


  • Protein Isoforms
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 5