Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are activated by the binding to a cyclin and mediate the progression through the cell cycle. Each different complex controls a specific transition between two subsequent phases in the cell cycle. CDK7 is the catalytic subunit of the CDK-activating kinase (CAK) complex, a serine-threonine kinase. CAK activates the cyclin-associated kinases CDK1, CDK2, CDK4 and CDK6 by threonine phosphorylation. CAK complexed to the core-TFIIH basal transcription factor activates RNA polymerase II by serine phosphorylation of the repetitive C-terminus domain (CTD) of its large subunit (POLR2A), allowing its escape from the promoter and elongation of the transcripts. Involved in cell cycle control and in RNA transcription by RNA polymerase II. Its expression and activity are constant throughout the cell cycle.
Belongs to the protein kinase superfamily. CMGC Ser/Thr protein kinase family. CDC2/CDKX subfamily. Contains 1 protein kinase domain.
Phosphorylation of Ser-164 during mitosis inactivates the enzyme. Phosphorylation of Thr-170 is required for activity.