In the rhodopsin system, which regulates rod cell function in the retina, rhodopsin kinase will phosphorylate serine and threonine residues on the rhodopsin receptor. Similarly to the βARK system, the phosphorylated rhodopsin residues will then bind to arrestin, resulting in receptor desensitization.
The structure of βARK1 consists of a protein of 689 amino acids (79.7 kilodaltons) with a protein kinase catalytic domain that bears greatest sequence similarity to protein kinase C and the cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cyclic AMP)-dependent protein kinase.
The gene spans approximately 23 kilobases and is composed of 21 exons interrupted by 20 introns. Exon sizes range from 52 bases (exon 7) to over 1200 bases (exon 21), intron sizes from 68 bases (intron L) to 10.8 kilobases (intron A). The splice sites for donor and acceptor were in agreement with the canonical GT/AG rule. Functional regions of beta ARK are described with respect to their location within the exon-intron organization of the gene. Primer extension and RNase protection assays suggest a major transcription start site approximately 246 bases upstream of the start ATG. Sequence analysis of the 5'-flanking/promoter region reveals many features characteristic of mammalian housekeeping genes, i.e. the lack of a TATA box, an absent or nonstandard positioned CAAT box, high GC content, and the presence of Sp1-binding sites. The extraordinarily high GC content of the 5'-flanking region (> 80%) helps define this region as a CpG island that may be a principal regulator of beta ARK expression.
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