• MAD method;
  • protein kinase CK2;
  • regulatory subunit;
  • X-ray structure;
  • zinc finger

Protein kinase CK2 is a tetramer composed of two α catalytic subunits and two β regulatory subunits. The structure of a C-terminal truncated form of the human β subunit has been determined by X-ray crystallography to 1.7 Å resolution. One dimer is observed in the asymmetric unit of the crystal. The most striking feature of the structure is the presence of a zinc finger mediating the dimerization. The monomer structure consists of two domains, one entirely α-helical and one including the zinc finger. The dimer has a crescent shape holding a highly acidic region at both ends. We propose that this acidic region is involved in the interactions with the polyamines and/or catalytic subunits. Interestingly, conserved amino acid residues among β subunit sequences are clustered along one linear ridge that wraps around the entire dimer. This feature suggests that protein partners may interact with the dimer through a stretch of residues in an extended conformation.