In 32P incorporation experiments with intact adrenocortical cells, adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) or adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) induced a rapid and transient increase of approximately 300-500% in the phosphorylation of a 32P-containing cytoplasmic protein of about 150,000 daltons (APS150). Half-maximal stimulation of APS150 phosphorylation was observed with about 3 pM ACTH. Receptor-bound cAMP, corticosterone production, and the appearance of phosphorylated APS150 increased in parallel with respect to both time and ACTH concentration. All three responses were dependent on extracellular calcium. Inhibition of protein synthesis with cycloheximide suggested a half-life of APS150 of about 10 min. The time course of 32P incorporation into ACTH-induced APS150 in the absence and presence of nonradioactive phosphate shows that the phosphorylation of APS150 is under simultaneous control of cAMP-dependent protein kinase and of phosphoatase activity. Thus a rapid ACTH-dependent and cAMP-dependent protein phosphorylation in intact adrenocortical cells within steroidogenic ACTH concentrations has now been demonstrated.