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A historical view of protein kinase CK2.

The enzyme termed nowadays protein kinase CK2 was first described in liver extracts (as a mixture with protein kinase CK1), using casein as artificial substrate, by Burnett and Kennedy (1954). In 1960 it was shown that such casein/phosvitin phosphorylating activity was ubiquitous and distinct from phosphorylase kinase, i.e., the only other protein kinase known at that time. CK1 and CK2 were distinguished from each other at the end of the sixties, and during the seventies CK2 was purified to homogeneity in several laboratories and thoroughly characterized as far as its subunit structure (alpha 2 beta 2), site specificity, and in vitro responsiveness to various effectors were concerned. The first endogenous substrate for CK2 (eIF-3) was described in 1976, but it was during the eighties that it became clear that CK2 is a pleiotropic protein kinase committed with the phosphorylation of a myriad of cellular targets. More than 100 CK2 substrates are known, sharing typical phosphoacceptor sites specified by multiple acidic residues on the C terminal side of Ser/Thr. The definition of the primary structure of CK2 catalytic subunit, in 1987, definitely included CK2 in the big family of eukariotic protein kinases. The growing interest for CK2 is accounted for by its unusual properties, by the increasing number of its substrates, and by several coincidental arguments suggesting that this pleiotropic protein kinase plays a fundamental role in cellular regulation. A major and intriguing problem concerning CK2 is its apparent lack of regulation.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)[1]


  1. A historical view of protein kinase CK2. Pinna, L.A. Cell. Mol. Biol. Res. (1994) [Pubmed]
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