Abstract Various protein kinases are activated in eggs in response to fertilization. We have previously shown that the induction of DNA-dependent protein phosphorylation activity in the sea urchin eggs is triggered by fertilization. The present study demonstrates that the activation of a DNA-dependent serine/threonine kinase in unfertilized eggs of Arbacia punctulata can be achieved without fertilization. Prolonged incubation in seawater resulted in the activation of the eggs with concomitant induction of DNA-dependent protein phosphorylation activity. The activated eggs when fertilized show a slight increase in the phosphorylation activity 10-min post-insemination. The activity gradually declines as the first and second cleavages proceed. The cytoplasmic extracts of the blastulae, gastrulae, and plutei lack the enzyme activity. These findings reveal that not only fertilization but also egg activation serves as a signal for the induction of a DNA-dependent protein phosphorylation activity in sea urchin eggs suggesting that sperm-entry is not required for the induction of the enzyme activity.