The activity of calcium-, phospholipid-dependent protein kinase (PKc) was measured in (a) total extracts, (b) crude membrane, and (c) cytosolic fractions of chick embryo myogenic cells differentiating in culture. Total PKc activity slowly declines during the course of terminal myogenesis in contrast to the activity of cAMP-dependent protein kinase, which was also measured in the same cells. Myogenic cells at day 1 of culture possess high particulate and low soluble PKc activity. A dramatic decline of particulate PKc activity occurs during myogenic cell differentiation and is accompanied, through day 4, by a striking rise of the soluble activity. The difference in the subcellular distribution of PKc between replicating myoblasts and myotubes is confirmed by phosphorylation studies conducted in intact cells. These studies demonstrate that four polypeptides whose phosphorylation is stimulated by the tumor promoter 12-O-tetradecanoyl phorbol 13-acetate in myotubes, are spontaneously phosphorylated in control myoblasts. Phosphoinositide turnover under basal conditions in [3H]inositol-labeled cells is faster in myoblasts than in myotubes, a finding that may in part explain the different distribution of PKc observed during the course of myogenic differentiation.

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