Molecular structure and differential function of choline kinases CHKα and CHKβ in musculoskeletal system and cancer

Xi Chen, Heng Qiu, Chao Wang, Yu Yuan, Jennifer Tickner, Jiake Xu, Jun Zou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
458 Downloads (Pure)


Choline, a hydrophilic cation, has versatile physiological roles throughout the body, including cholinergic neurotransmission, memory consolidation and membrane biosynthesis and metabolism. Choline kinases possess enzyme activity that catalyses the conversion of choline to phosphocholine, which is further converted to cytidine diphosphate-coline (CDP-choline) in the biosynthesis of phosphatidylcholine (PC). PC is a major constituent of the phospholipid bilayer which constitutes the eukaryotic cell membrane, and regulates cell signal transduction. Choline Kinase consists of three isoforms, CHKα1, CHKα2 and CHKβ, encoded by two separate genes (CHKA(Human)/Chka(Mouse) and CHKB(Human)/Chkb(Mouse)). Both isoforms have similar structures and enzyme activity, but display some distinct molecular structural domains and differential tissue expression patterns. Whilst Choline Kinase was discovered in early 1950, its pivotal role in the development of muscular dystrophy, bone deformities, and cancer has only recently been identified. CHKα has been proposed as a cancer biomarker and its inhibition as an anti-cancer therapy. In contrast, restoration of CHKβ deficiency through CDP-choline supplements like citicoline may be beneficial for the treatment of muscular dystrophy, bone metabolic diseases, and cognitive conditions. The molecular structure and expression pattern of Choline Kinase, the differential roles of Choline Kinase isoforms and their potential as novel therapeutic targets for muscular dystrophy, bone deformities, cognitive conditions and cancer are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-72
Number of pages8
JournalCytokine and Growth Factor Reviews
Early online date8 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular structure and differential function of choline kinases CHKα and CHKβ in musculoskeletal system and cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this