It was previously reported that the phosphorylation of three proteins of 36, 40 to 42, and 50 kDa by casein kinase 2 is inhibited by calmodulin in nuclear extracts from rat liver cells (R. Bosser, R. Aligué, D. Guerini, N. Agell, E. Carafoli, and O. Bachs, J. Biol. Chem. 268:15477-15483, 1993). By immunoblotting, peptide mapping, and endogenous phosphorylation experiments, the 36- and 40- to 42-kDa proteins have been identified as the A2 and C proteins, respectively, of the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles. To better understand the mechanism by which calmodulin inhibits the phosphorylation of these proteins, they were purified by using single-stranded DNA chromatography, and the effect of calmodulin on their phosphorylation by casein kinase 2 was analyzed. Results revealed that whereas calmodulin inhibited the phosphorylation of purified A2 and C proteins in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner, it did not affect the casein kinase 2 phosphorylation of a different protein substrate, i.e., beta-casein. These results indicate that the effect of calmodulin was not on casein kinase 2 activity but on specific protein substrates. The finding that the A2 and C proteins can bind to a calmodulin-Sepharose column in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner suggests that this association could prevent the phosphorylation of the proteins by casein kinase 2. Immunoelectron microscopy studies have revealed that such interactions could also occur in vivo, since calmodulin and A2 and C proteins colocalize on the ribonucleoprotein particles in rat liver cell nuclei.