The cDNA and deduced amino-acid sequences for dimeric and octameric isoforms of creatine kinase (CK) from a protostome, the polychaete Chaetopterus variopedatus, were elucidated and then analysed in the context of available vertebrate CK sequences and the recently determined crystal structure of chicken sarcomeric mitochondrial CK (MiCK). As protostomes last shared a common ancestor with vertebrates roughly 700 million years ago, observed conserved residues may serve to confirm or reject contemporary hypotheses about the roles of particular amino acids in functional/structural processes such as dimer/octamer formation and membrane binding. The isolated cDNA from the dimeric CK consisted of 1463 nucleotides with an open reading frame of 1116 nucleotides encoding a 372-amino-acid protein having a calculated molecular mass of 41.85 kDa. The percentage identity of C. variopedatus dimeric CK to vertebrate CK is as high as 69%. The octameric MiCK cDNA is composed of 1703 nucleotides with an open reading frame of 1227 nucleotides. The first 102 nucleotides of the open reading frame encode a 34-amino-acid leader peptide whereas the mature protein is composed of 375 amino acids with a calculated molecular mass of 42.17 kDa. The percentage identity of C. variopedatus MiCK to vertebrate CK is as high as 71%. This similarity is also evident in residues purported to be important in the structure and function of dimeric and octameric CK: (a) presence of seven basic amino acids in the C-terminal end thought to be important in binding of MiCK to membranes; (b) presence of a lysine residue (Lys110 in chicken MiCK) also thought to be involved in membrane binding; and (c) presence of a conserved tryptophan thought to be important in dimer stabilization which is present in all dimeric and octameric guanidino kinases. However, C. variopedatus MiCK lacks the N-terminal heptapeptide present in chicken MiCK, which is thought to mediate octamer stabilization. In contrast with vertebrate MiCK, polychaete octamers are very stable indicating that dimer binding into octamers may be mediated by additional and/or other residues. Phylogenetic analyses showed that both octamer and dimer evolved very early in the CK lineage, well before the divergence of deuterostomes and protostomes. These results indicate that the octamer is a primitive feature of CK rather than being a derived and advanced character.