Subcellular localization of protein kinase CK2. A key to its function?

Cell Tissue Res. 2000 Sep;301(3):329-40. doi: 10.1007/s004410000256.


More than 46 years ago, Burnett and Kennedy first described protein kinase CK2 (formerly known as casein kinase 2) in liver extracts. Since then, protein kinase CK2 has been investigated in many organisms from yeast to man. It is now well established that protein kinase CK2 is a pleiotropic and ubiquitous serine or threonine kinase, which is highly conserved during evolution. A great number of studies deal with substrates of CK2, but the fact that over 160 substrates exist is more confusing than elucidatory. The holoenzyme is composed of two regulatory beta-subunits and two catalytic alpha- or alpha'-subunits. There is now increasing evidence for individual functions of the subunits that are different from their functions in the holoenzyme. Furthermore, more and more studies describe interacting partners of the kinase that may be decisive in the regulation of this enzyme. A big step forward has been the determination of the crystal structure of the two subunits of protein kinase CK2. Now the interactions of the catalytic subunit of CK2 with ATP as well as GTP and the interaction between the regulatory subunits can be explained. However, cellular functions of protein kinase CK2 still remain unclear. In the present review we will focus our interest on the subcellular localization of protein kinase CK2. Protein kinase CK2 is found in many organisms and tissues and nearly every subcellular compartment. There is ample evidence that protein kinase CK2 has different functions in these compartments and that the subcellular localization of protein kinase CK2 is tightly regulated. Therefore studying the subcellular localization of protein kinase CK2 may be a key to its function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Casein Kinase II
  • Cell Compartmentation / physiology*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / cytology
  • Eukaryotic Cells / enzymology*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / analysis*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / physiology*


  • Casein Kinase II
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases