Soluble myosin heavy chain kinases (MHC kinases) were partially purified from growth phase and aggregation-competent cells of Dictyostelium discoideum. In the aggregation-competent cells, two MHC kinases were distinguishable. One of these enzymes, called MHC kinase II, was inactivated by Ca2+ and calmodulin in a highly temperature-dependent reaction. A MHC kinase found in growth phase cells did not have these regulatory properties. Substrate specificities were analysed for MHC kinase II and for the MHC kinase from growth phase cells. Both enzymes phosphorylated threonine residues of the myosin heavy chains of D. discoideum and Physarum polycephalum. Phosphopeptide mapping of D. discoideum myosin and determination of the stoichiometry of its phosphorylation suggested the presence of two phosphorylation sites per heavy chain. Both sites were contained within a 38-kd chymotryptic fragment. The inactivation of MHC kinase II by Ca2+ plus calmodulin suggests this enzyme has a role in the regulation of myosin functions during the chemotactic response of a cell. The phosphorylated myosin had about one third the actin-activated Mg2+-ATPase activity of the non-phosphorylated myosin. Previous findings indicated that stimulation of D. discoideum cells with the chemo-attractant cAMP increases the cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration. Under these conditions MHC kinase II might be inhibited and the dephosphorylated, more active form of myosin would accumulate.