Phosphorylation is a major post-translational regulatory mechanism and plays a key role in transduction of mitogenic signals in cell proliferation. The role of phosphorylation and dephosphorylation in regulating the activities of a multiprotein DNA polymerase alpha complex was examined. Treatment of the HeLa cell multiprotein DNA polymerase alpha with calf intestinal alkaline phosphatase resulted in the inactivation of DNA polymerase alpha and DNA primase but had no effect on deoxyribonuclease- and primer-recognition proteins. A protein kinase co-purified with the multiprotein DNA polymerase alpha and was partially purified from HeLa cells. The partially purified kinase was active in phosphorylating dephosphorylated polymerase alpha and used casein and histones as exogenous substrates. This study demonstrates that phosphorylation-dephosphorylation may have modulated the activities of DNA replicative enzymes and suggests a role for specific phosphatases and kinases in this process.