Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) is predominantly expressed in neurons. In vitro, Cdk5 purified from the nervous tissue phosphorylates both high-molecular-weight neurofilament and microtubule-associated tau. The mouse gene encoding Cdk5 (Cdk5) was found to be 5 kb in length and divided into 12 exons. All of the exon-intron junctions matched the expected consensus sequence with the exception of the splice junction for intron 9, which has AT and AC dinucleotides instead of the usual GT and AG bordering sequence. In the 5'-flanking region of mouse Cdk5, several putative promoter elements were present, including AP1, Sp1, PuF, and TATA motifs. A metal regulatory element was also identified at position -207 to -201. Nucleotide sequence analysis of mouse Cdk5 showed high identity to the homologues of other vertebrate species, indicating that this kinase is highly conserved during evolution. Mouse Cdk5 was mapped to the centromeric region of mouse chromosome 5.