As the post-genome era is approaching, with vast amount of sequence information available and new technology developed, scientists are presented with opportunities to explore in simple analysis the structure and expression pattern of not just a single gene, but of an entire family of genes, if not the entire genome. The concept of 'molecular profiling' or 'expression array' has thus emerged. The need to simultaneously 'see' all genes in the same family is obvious under the precept of the combinatorial process being an underlying principle of complex biological systems: no gene exists in isolation, for virtually every molecule participates in intermolecular interactions. The activation of receptor tyrosine kinases through homo or hetero-dimerization is the prototypic example. In this review, a tyrosine kinase profile technique and its application to studying the expression of tyrosine kinases and the identification of novel kinases will be discussed. This serves as an introduction to the several interesting papers published in this special 'kinase' issue of the Journal of Biomedical Sciences, using this technique. A new simplified approach, kinase display, which is an extension of the profiling method and requires only restriction digestion and gel analysis will also be introduced.
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