Our previous studies have shown that the overexpression of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), the rate-limiting enzyme in polyamine biosynthesis, increases the enzymatic activity of the polyamine-responsive enzyme casein kinase 2 (CK2). Because CK2 is known to preferentially associate with the nuclear matrix in response to other trophic stimuli, we investigated the effects of ODC overexpression on CK2 localisation and on the CK2-mediated phosphorylation of a known CK2 substrate, the nucleolar phosphoprotein B23. Immunofluorescence analysis of CK2 and B23 in primary keratinocytes revealed that ODC overexpression resulted in the colocalisation of CK2 with B23 at the nucleolar borders. ODC overexpression also increased CK2 kinase activity 2-fold at the nuclear matrix, a response which could be abrogated by treatment of K6/ODC transgenic keratinocytes with the ODC inhibitor alpha-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO). Levels of B23 protein were also elevated in ODC-overexpressing cells compared to normal cells or transgenic cells treated with DFMO. This increase in protein level was neither due to an increase in steady-state mRNA levels, nor was it due to increased stability of B23 protein. Phosphorylation of B23 was also increased in ODC-overexpressing cells, and this increased phosphorylation could be blocked by treatment of the cells with the CK2 kinase inhibitors apigenin or 5,6-dichloro-1-beta-D-ribofuranosylbenzimidazole (DRB). These data suggest that B23 may be a downstream effector of polyamines via phosphorylation by the protein kinase CK2.