The regulation of the protein kinase PKR by RNA

H. D. Robertson, M. B. Mathews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


A model is presented for the regulation of the double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-activated mammalian protein kinase PKR, which is involved in protein synthesis inhibition and the antiviral response in cells. A series of previous findings abut PKROs behavior are reviewed, including its effects on translation; the activation of its protein kinase activity; binding sites for PKR on RNA; PKROs protein domains, which include two double-stranded RNA binding motifs (dsRBMs); and the likelihood of PKR dimer formation. The model which emerges to account for many of these observations includes the suggestion that PKR dimers form which are stabilized and rearranged upon binding to dsRNA regions 60 bp or longer. The hypothesis includes protein conformational changes within each member of a PKR dimer bound to dsRNA which re-position an inhibitory polypeptide domain and thus allow kinase activation. Also considered are ways in which PKR interacts with imperfectly duplexed, highly structured RNA molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)909-914
Number of pages6
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry


  • Protein dimerization
  • Protein synthesis inhibition
  • dsRBM
  • dsRNA


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