The transmission of information in cells often involves the modification of proteins by the addition of phosphate groups, a process termed phosphorylation. Phosphorylation is catalyzed by protein kinases, which themselves often require phosphorylation for their activation. Some kinases auto-activate by phosphorylating their own activation loop, a process that is usually accomplished by a second copy of the same protein. In work published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the lab of Thomas Leonard has discovered, unexpectedly, that protein kinase D (PKD) activates itself without the need for another copy of PKD.
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