Cyclin-dependent protein kinases (CDKs) are key regulators of the eukaryotic cell cycle and of the eukaryotic transcription machinery. Here we report the characterization of Pfcrk-3 (Plasmodium falciparum CDK-related kinase 3; PlasmoDB identifier PFD0740w), an unusually large CDK-related protein whose kinase domain displays maximal homology to those CDKs which, in other eukaryotes, are involved in the control of transcription. The closest enzyme in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is BUR1 (bypass upstream activating sequence requirement 1), known to control gene expression through interaction with chromatin modification enzymes. Consistent with this, immunofluorescence data show that Pfcrk-3 colocalizes with histones. We show that recombinant Pfcrk-3 associates with histone H1 kinase activity in parasite extracts and that this association is detectable even if the catalytic domain of Pfcrk-3 is rendered inactive by site-directed mutagenesis, indicating that Pfcrk-3 is part of a complex that includes other protein kinases. Immunoprecipitates obtained from extracts of transgenic parasites expressing hemagglutinin (HA)-tagged Pfcrk-3 by using an anti-HA antibody displayed both protein kinase and histone deacetylase activities. Reverse genetics data show that the pfcrk-3 locus can be targeted only if the genetic modification does not cause a loss of function. Taken together, our data strongly suggest that Pfcrk-3 fulfils a crucial role in the intraerythrocytic development of P. falciparum, presumably through chromatin modification-dependent regulation of gene expression.