The casein kinase I family of serine/threonine protein kinases is highly conserved from yeast to humans. Until only recently, both the function and regulation of these enzymes remained poorly uncharacterised in that they appeared to be constitutively active and were capable of phosphorylating an untold number of other proteins. While relatively little was known regarding the exact function of the higher eukaryotic isoforms, the casein kinase I (CKI) isoforms from yeast have been genetically linked to vesicular trafficking, DNA repair, cell cycle progression and cytokinesis. All five S. cerevisiae isoforms are known to be associated with discrete cellular compartments and this localization has been shown to be absolutely essential for their respective functions. New evidence now suggests that the CKI isoforms in more complex systems also exhibit non-homogeneous subcellular distributions that may prove vital to defining the function and regulation of these enzymes. In particular, CKIalpha, the most-characterized vertebrate isoform, is associated with cytosolic vesicles, the mitotic spindle and structures within the nucleus. Functions associated with these localizations coincide with those previously reported in yeast, suggesting a conservation of function. Other reports have indicated that each of the remaining CKI isoforms have the capacity to make associations with components of several signal transduction pathways, thereby channeling CKI function toward specific regulatory events. This review will examine what is now known about the higher eukaryotic CKI family members from the perspective localization as a means of gaining a better understanding of the function and regulation of these kinases.