Mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinases, MSK1 and the closely related isoform MSK2, are nuclear kinases that are activated following mitogen stimulation or cellular stress, including UV radiation, by the ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK signaling cascades, respectively. However, factors that differentially regulate MSK1 and MSK2 have not been well characterized. Here we report that the CK2 protein kinase, which contributes to NF-kappaB activation following UV radiation in a p38-dependent manner, physically interacts with MSK2 but not MSK1 and that CK2 inhibition specifically impairs UV-induced MSK2 kinase activation. A putative site of CK2 phosphorylation was mapped to MSK2 residue Ser(324) and when substituted to alanine (S324A) also compromised MSK2 activity. RNA interference-mediated depletion of MSK2 in human MDA-MB-231 cells, but not MSK1 depletion, resulted in impaired UV-induced phosphorylation of NF-kappaB p65 at Ser(276) in vivo, which was restored by the ectopic expression of MSK2 but not by MSK2-S324A. Furthermore, UV radiation led to the activation of NF-kappaB-responsive gene expression in MDA-MB-231 cells and induced p65 transactivation capacity that was dependent on MSK2, MSK2 residue Ser(324), and p65-Ser(276). These results suggest that MSK1 and MSK2 are differentially regulated by CK2 during the UV response and that MSK2 is the major protein kinase responsible for the UV-induced phosphorylation of p65 at Ser(276) that positively regulates NF-kappaB activity in MDA-MB-231 cells.