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Adv Enzyme Regul. 1994;34:225-46.

Human casein kinase II: structures, genes, expression and requirement in cell growth stimulation.

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German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg.


Casein kinase II (CKII) is an ubiquitous Ser/Thr protein phosphotransferase in control of a variety of crucial cellular functions including metabolism, signal transduction, transcription, translation and replication. CKII levels are consistently higher in neoplastic tissues. The human CKII is composed of subunits alpha, alpha', and beta with molecular masses of 43, 38 and 28 kDa, respectively, that form heterotetrameric holoenzymes (alpha 2 beta 2; alpha alpha' beta 2, alpha'2 beta 2) showing autophosphorylation particularly at subunit beta and hence suspected to play a regulatory role. The amino acid sequences of subunits indicate high evolutionary conservation. Employing the complete set of tissue-derived (placenta) and recombinant (expressed in E. coli) subunits and CKII holoenzymes, the catalytic function of alpha and alpha' and the several-fold stimulation by beta is shown to occur comparably in tissue-derived and recombinant CKII and the autophosphorylation of beta is shown by site-directed mutagenesis to be not decisive for the tuning of CKII activity. The human genome contains two genes encoding CKII alpha. First, there is a processed (pseudo)gene which is 99% homologous to the CKII alpha cDNA and which possesses a promoter-like region adjacently upstream with TATA and CAAT boxes so that transcription cannot be excluded. Second, there is an active gene of which we have characterized so far a 18.9 kb long central fragment which contains 8 exons comprising bases 102-824 of the CKII alpha coding region. The gene fragment contains repetitive elements, most prominently 16 Alu repeats. The genome further contains one as yet uncharacterized CKII alpha' gene and one gene encoding CKII beta. The CKII beta gene has been characterized as a 4.2 kb spanning gene composed of seven exons which possesses three transcription start sites and the translation start site in the second exon. The first intron harbors an Alu repeat also. The promoter region of the CKII beta gene contains elements such as multiple GC boxes, a CpG island, and nonstandard-positioned CAAT boxes but lacks a TATA box thus characterizing the gene as a housekeeping gene. The CKII genes are not clustered at a certain chromosome but rather are distributed over the whole human genome. Using the genomic clones as the probes for in situ hybridization, the active CKII alpha gene was mapped to chromosome 20p13, the processed CKII alpha (pseudo)gene to chromosome 11p15, and the CKII beta gene to chromosome 6p21. (The CKII alpha' gene has been localized on chromosome 16 with a cDNA probe.).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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