MAPs, MARKs and microtubule dynamics

Trends Biochem Sci. 1998 Aug;23(8):307-11. doi: 10.1016/s0968-0004(98)01245-6.


Microtubules (MTs) serve as tracks for cellular transport, and regulate cell shape and polarity. Rapid transitions between stable and dynamic forms of MTs are central to these processes. This dynamic instability is regulated by a number of cellular factors, including the structural MT-associated proteins (MAPs), which in turn are regulated by phosphorylation. MT-affinity-regulating kinases (MARKs) are novel mammalian serine/threonine kinases that phosphorylate the tubulin-binding domain of MAPs and thereby cause their detachment from MTs and increased MT dynamics. Molecular cloning of MARKs revealed a family of four closely related protein kinases that share homology with genes from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and fission yeast that are involved in the generation of cell shape and polarity. Hence, MARKs might play a role in the regulation of MT stability during morphogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Cell Polarity*
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Microtubules / physiology*
  • Morphogenesis
  • Phosphorylation
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases