The metalloendopeptidase EC 126.96.36.199 (EP24.15) is a neuropeptide-metabolizlng enzyme expressed predominantly in brain, pituitary, and testis, and is implicated in several physiological processes and diseases. Multiple putative phosphorylation sites in the primary sequence led us to investigate whether phosphorylation effects the specificity and/or the kinetics of substrate cleavage. Only protein kinase A (PKA) treatment resuited in serine phosphorylation with a stoichiometry of 1.11 ± 0.12 tool of phosphate/mol of recombinant rat EP24.15. Mutation analysis of each putative PKA site, in vitro phosphorylation, and phosphopeptide mapping indicated serine 644 as the phosphorylation site. Phosphorylation effects on catalytic activity were assessed using physiological (GnRH, GnRH1-9, bradykinin, and neurotensin) and fluorimetric (MCA-PLGPDL-Dnp and orthoaminobenzoyl-GGFLRRV-Dnp-edn) substrates. The most dramatic change upon PKA phosphorylation was a substrate-specific, 7-fold increase in both K(m) and k(cat) for GnRH. In both rat PC12 and mouse AtT-20 cells, EP24.15 was serine-phosphorylated, and EP24.15 phosphate incorporation was enhanced by forskolin treatment, and attenuated by H89, consistent with PKA-mediated phosphorylation. Cloning of the full-length mouse EP24.15 cDNA revealed 96.7% amino acid identity to the rat sequence, and conservation at serine 644, consistent with its putative functional role. Therefore, PKA phosphorylation is suggested to play a regulatory role in EP24.15 enzyme activity.