Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) is emerging as a multifunctional kinase involved in regulating numerous cellular processes. Lately, Cdk5 has also emerged as a key controller of regulated membrane fusion in secretory cells. The pancreatic β-cell is highly specialized to secrete insulin in response to elevated glucose concentrations in the blood. The final biochemical events leading to insulin release from the β-cell are governed by a secretion apparatus that is similar to the presynaptic machinery mediating synaptic transmission in neuronal networks. We now summarize recent developments in the field of Cdk5 and regulated exocytosis and also present some novel findings regarding Cdk5's effect on insulin secretion.
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