cDNA encoding the casein kinase II (CKII) subunits alpha and beta of human origin were expressed in Escherichia coli using expression vector pT7-7. Significant expression was obtained with E. coli BL21(DE3). The CKII subunits accounted for approximately 30% of the bacterial protein; however, most of the expressed proteins were produced in an insoluble form. The recombinant CKII alpha subunit was purified by DEAE-cellulose chromatography, followed by phosphocellulose and heparin-agarose chromatography. The recombinant CKII beta subunit was extracted from the insoluble pellet and purified in a single step on phosphocellulose. From 10 g bacterial cells, the yield of soluble protein was 12 mg alpha subunit and 5 mg beta subunit. SDS/PAGE analysis of the purified recombinant proteins indicated molecular masses of 42 kDa and 26 kDa for the alpha and beta subunits, respectively, in agreement with the molecular masses determined for the subunits of the native enzyme. The recombinant alpha subunit exhibited protein kinase activity which was greatest in the absence of monovalent ions. With increasing amounts of salt, alpha subunit kinase activity declined rapidly. Addition of the beta subunit led to maximum stimulation at a 1:1 ratio of both subunits. Using a synthetic peptide (RRRDDDSDDD) as a substrate, the maximum protein kinase stimulation observed was fourfold under the conditions used. The Km of the reconstituted enzyme for the synthetic peptide (80 microM) was comparable to the mammalian enzyme (40-60 microM), whereas the alpha subunit alone had a Km of 240 microM. After sucrose density gradient analysis, the reconstituted holoenzyme sedimented at the same position as the mammalian CKII holoenzyme.
European Journal of Biochemistry, 1991, Vol 198, Issue 1, p. 25-30