Tribbles are members of the pseudokinase family of proteins, with no associated kinase activity detectable to date. As tribbles appear not to function as kinases, there has been debate surrounding their functional classification. Tribbles have been proposed to function as adaptor molecules facilitating degradation of their target proteins. Tribbles have also been proposed to mediate signalling changes to MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) cascades and also to function as decoy kinases interfering with the activity of known kinases. The present review discusses the functionally divergent roles of tribbles as molecular adaptors mediating degradation, changes to signalling cascades and action as decoy kinases.

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