Protein kinases are key regulators of many biochemical processes in eukaryotic cells. Malaria parasites, in spite of all their peculiarities, are not likely to represent an exception in this respect. Over the past few years, several genes encoding Plasmodium protein kinases have been cloned and characterized; these molecular studies extend previous data on kinase activities in parasite extracts. Here, Barbara Kappes, Christian Doerig and Ralph Graeser present available data on this topic, with an emphasis on cloned protein kinase genes, and discuss the potential outcome of such research in the context of drug development.