Hyperphosphorylated tau protein is known to be a major component of the paired helical filaments (PHFs) that accumulate in the brain of Alzheimer's patients. The kinase that phosphorylated Ser-208 and Ser-210 in PHF-tau had remained unknown. We used anti-pS208 and anti-pS210 antibodies and Western blots to confirm that the tau-tubulin kinase (TTK) phosphorylates tau at Ser-208 and at Ser-210. Using partial amino acid sequences of purified bovine brain TTK, a mouse cDNA of TTK was isolated and the sequence was determined. Its 963 bp coding region is composed of 320 amino acids and encodes a 36 kDa protein indistinguishable in size from authentic bovine brain TTK. Our immunoblot analysis demonstrated that TTK is ubiquitously distributed in the rat tissues, and that it is developmentally regulated in the rat brain.