Metazoan cyclin C was originally isolated by virtue of its ability to rescue Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells deficient in G1 cyclin function. This suggested that cyclin C might play a role in cell cycle control, but progress toward understanding the function of this cyclin has been hampered by the lack of information on a potential kinase partner. Here we report the identification of a human protein kinase, K35 [cyclin-dependent kinase 8 (CDK8)], that is likely to be a physiological partner of cyclin C. A specific interaction between K35 and cyclin C could be demonstrated after translation of CDKs and cyclins in vitro. Furthermore, cyclin C could be detected in K35 immunoprecipitates prepared from HeLa cells, indicating that the two proteins form a complex also in vivo. The K35-cyclin C complex is structurally related to SRB10-SRB11, a CDK-cyclin pair recently shown to be part of the RNA polymerase II holoenzyme of S. cerevisiae. Hence, we propose that human K35(CDK8)-cyclin C might be functionally associated with the mammalian transcription apparatus, perhaps involved in relaying growth-regulatory signals.