KinOrtho: a method for mapping human kinase orthologs across the tree of life and illuminating understudied kinases.

Huang, Liang-Chin, Taujale, Rahil, Gravel, Nathan, Venkat, Aarya, Yeung, Wayland, Byrne, Dominic P, Eyers, Patrick A ORCID: 0000-0002-9220-2966 and Kannan, Natarajan
(2021) KinOrtho: a method for mapping human kinase orthologs across the tree of life and illuminating understudied kinases. BMC bioinformatics, 22 (1). 446 - 446.

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<h4>Background</h4>Protein kinases are among the largest druggable family of signaling proteins, involved in various human diseases, including cancers and neurodegenerative disorders. Despite their clinical relevance, nearly 30% of the 545 human protein kinases remain highly understudied. Comparative genomics is a powerful approach for predicting and investigating the functions of understudied kinases. However, an incomplete knowledge of kinase orthologs across fully sequenced kinomes severely limits the application of comparative genomics approaches for illuminating understudied kinases. Here, we introduce KinOrtho, a query- and graph-based orthology inference method that combines full-length and domain-based approaches to map one-to-one kinase orthologs across 17 thousand species.<h4>Results</h4>Using multiple metrics, we show that KinOrtho performed better than existing methods in identifying kinase orthologs across evolutionarily divergent species and eliminated potential false positives by flagging sequences without a proper kinase domain for further evaluation. We demonstrate the advantage of using domain-based approaches for identifying domain fusion events, highlighting a case between an understudied serine/threonine kinase TAOK1 and a metabolic kinase PIK3C2A with high co-expression in human cells. We also identify evolutionary fission events involving the understudied OBSCN kinase domains, further highlighting the value of domain-based orthology inference approaches. Using KinOrtho-defined orthologs, Gene Ontology annotations, and machine learning, we propose putative biological functions of several understudied kinases, including the role of TP53RK in cell cycle checkpoint(s), the involvement of TSSK3 and TSSK6 in acrosomal vesicle localization, and potential functions for the ULK4 pseudokinase in neuronal development.<h4>Conclusions</h4>In sum, KinOrtho presents a novel query-based tool to identify one-to-one orthologous relationships across thousands of proteomes that can be applied to any protein family of interest. We exploit KinOrtho here to identify kinase orthologs and show that its well-curated kinome ortholog set can serve as a valuable resource for illuminating understudied kinases, and the KinOrtho framework can be extended to any protein-family of interest.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Systems, Molecular and Integrative Biology
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2022 10:16
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2022 02:13
DOI: 10.1186/s12859-021-04358-3
Open Access URL: