Mutations of the CFTR, a phosphorylation-regulated Cl(-) channel, cause cystic fibrosis. Activation of CFTR by PKA stimulation appears to be mediated by a complex interaction between several consensus phosphorylation sites in the regulatory domain (R domain). None of these sites has a critical role in this process. Here, we show that although endogenous phosphorylation by PKC is required for the effect of PKA on CFTR, stimulation of PKC by itself has only a minor effect on human CFTR. In contrast, CFTR from the amphibians Necturus maculosus and Xenopus laevis (XCFTR) can be activated to similar degrees by stimulation of either PKA or PKC. Furthermore, the activation of XCFTR by PKC is independent of the net charge of the R domain, and mutagenesis experiments indicate that a single site (Thr665) is required for the activation of XCFTR. Human CFTR lacks the PKC phosphorylation consensus site that includes Thr665, but insertion of an equivalent site results in a large activation upon PKC stimulation. These observations establish the presence of a novel mechanism of activation of CFTR by phosphorylation of the R domain, i.e., activation by PKC requires a single consensus phosphorylation site and is unrelated to the net charge of the R domain.