Some of the numerous functions of the growth suppressor protein p53 are regulated by its interaction with viral and cellular proteins. C-terminal sequences of p53 are implicated in binding to the regulatory beta-subunit of protein kinase CK2. Using a p53-specific DNA binding element we found that the beta-subunit of CK2 inhibited the DNA binding of p53 whereas the alpha-subunit had no influence. The CK2 holoenzyme consisting of two alpha- and two beta-subunits led to a supershift in DNA binding of p53 similar to the p53-specific monoclonal antibody PAb421 as well as the C-terminus of p53. Thus, our results showed an individual role of the free beta-subunit of CK2 on the DNA binding activity of p53.