In these studies the incorporation of 32P into proteins within subcellular fractions, obtained from rat white adipose tissue upon incubation in the presence of [gamma-32P]ATP, was investigated. A stable increase in the activity of protein serine(threonine) kinase in high-speed supernatant fractions was observed following treatment of intact tissue with insulin. Protein kinase activity associated with the plasma membrane fraction of cells was diminished in response to insulin, but the decrease was apparently insufficient to account for increases observed in corresponding supernatant fractions. A range of assay conditions was employed to characterize the insulin-stimulated protein serine(threonine) kinase in in supernatant fractions. The insulin-stimulated protein serine(threonine) kinase displays properties that indicate it is distinct from a number of well-characterized protein kinases, including those regulated by cAMP, calcium ions (in the presence or absence of calmodulin or mixtures of phosphatidylserine-diacylglycerol), polyamines, or heparin. There were no apparent effects of insulin on incorporation of 32P into added casein or histones II-S or III-S. The protein serine(threonine) kinase activity (or activities) described here displays properties that also appear to differ from the properties of previously described insulin-stimulated activities able to catalyze the phosphorylation of the ribosomal protein S6. The differences in properties may, in part, be explained by the use of different cell types, but may also indicate that treatment of cells with insulin leads to activation of more than one protein serine(threonine) kinase.