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Abstract

Since its original identification as a component of the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) complex, K protein has been found not only in the nucleus but also in the cytoplasm and mitochondria and is implicated in chromatin remodeling, transcription, splicing and translation processes. K protein contains multiple modules that, on one hand, bind kinases while, on the other hand, recruit chromatin, transcription, splicing and translation factors. Moreover, the K- protein-mediated interactions are regulated by signaling cascades. These observations are consistent with K protein acting as a docking platform to integrate signaling cascades by facilitating cross-talk between kinases and factors that mediate nucleic-acid-directed processes. Comparison of K across species reveals that it is an essential factor in metazoans, but not in yeast. Although some of the K protein interactions and functions are conserved in eukaryotes from yeast to man, the mammalian protein seems to play a wider role. The greater diversity of mammalian K protein interactions and function may reflect gain of novel docking sites and expansion evolutionary of gene expression networks. BioEssays 26:629–638, 2004. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.