There are approximately 40 known eukaryotic LIM proteins, so named for the LIM domains they contain. LIM domains are highly conserved cysteine-rich structures containing 2 zinc fingers. Although zinc fingers usually function by binding to DNA or RNA, the LIM motif probably mediates protein-protein interactions. LIM kinase-1 and LIM kinase-2 belong to a small subfamily with a unique combination of 2 N-terminal LIM motifs and a C-terminal protein kinase domain. The protein encoded by this gene is phosphorylated and activated by ROCK, a downstream effector of Rho, and the encoded protein, in turn, phosphorylates cofilin, inhibiting its actin-depolymerizing activity. It is thought that this pathway contributes to Rho-induced reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton. At least three transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene.
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