Phosphorylation of serine, threonine and tyrosine residues by cellular protein kinases plays an important role in the regulation of various cellular processes. The serine/threonine specific casein kinase 1 and 2 protein kinase families--(CK1 and CK2)--were among the first protein kinases that had been described. In recent years our knowledge of the regulation and function of mammalian CK1 kinase family members has rapidly increased. Extracellular stimuli, the subcellular localization of CK1 isoforms, their interaction with various cellular structures and proteins, as well as autophosphorylation and proteolytic cleavage of their C-terminal regulatory domains influence CK1 kinase activity. Mammalian CK1 isoforms phosphorylate many different substrates among them key regulatory proteins involved in the control of cell differentiation, proliferation, chromosome segregation and circadian rhythms. Deregulation and/or the incidence of mutations in the coding sequence of CK1 isoforms have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. This review will summarize our current knowledge about the function and regulation of mammalian CK1 isoforms.