Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) complexes, the structures that contain heterogeneous nuclear RNA and its associated proteins, constitute one of the most abundant components of the eukaryotic nucleus. hnRNPs appear to play important roles in the processing, and possibly also in the transport, of mRNA. hnRNP C proteins (C1, M(r) of 41,000; C2, M(r) of 43,000 [by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis]) are among the most abundant pre-mRNA-binding proteins, and they bind tenaciously to sequences relevant to pre-mRNA processing, including the polypyrimidine stretch of introns (when it is uridine rich). C proteins are found in the nucleus during the interphase, but during mitosis they disperse throughout the cell. They have been shown previously to be phosphorylated in vivo, and they can be phosphorylated in vitro by a casein kinase type II. We have identified and partially purified at least two additional C protein kinases. One of these, termed Cs kinase, caused a distinct mobility shift of C proteins on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. These phosphorylated C proteins, the Cs proteins, were the prevalent forms of C proteins during mitosis, and Cs kinase activity was also increased in extracts prepared from mitotic cells. Thus, hnRNP C proteins undergo cell cycle-dependent phosphorylation by a cell cycle-regulated protein kinase. Cs kinase activity appears to be distinct from the well-characterized mitosis-specific histone H1 kinase activity. Several additional hnRNP proteins are also phosphorylated during mitosis and are thus also potential substrates for Cs kinase. These novel phosphorylations may be important in regulating the assembly and disassembly of hnRNP complexes and in the function or cellular localization of RNA-binding proteins.