Author(s): Gross SD, Loijens JC, Anderson RA
Casein kinase I is a highly conserved family of serine/threonine protein kinases present in every organism tested from yeast to humans. To date, little is known about the function of the higher eukaryotic isoforms in this family. The CKI isoforms in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, however, have been genetically linked to the regulation of DNA repair, cell cycle progression and cytokinesis. It has also been established that the nuclear localization of two of these isoforms is essential for their function. The work presented here demonstrates that the higher eukaryotic CKIalpha isoform is also present within nuclei of certain established cell lines and associated with discrete nuclear structures. The nature of its nuclear localization was characterized. In this regard, CKIalpha was shown to colocalize with factors involved in pre-mRNA splicing at nuclear speckles and that its association with these structures exhibited several biochemical properties in common with known splicing factors. The kinase was also shown to be associated with a complex that contained certain splicing factors. Finally, in vitro, CKIalpha was shown to be capable of phosphorylating particular splicing factors within a region rich in serine/arginine dipeptide repeat motifs suggesting that it has both the opportunity and the capacity to regulate one or more steps of mRNA metabolism.