Antigen activation of murine T lymphocytes leads to phosphorylation of three subunits of the murine T cell antigen receptor (L.E. Samelson, M.D. Patel, A.M. Weissman, J.B. Harford, and R.D. Klausner. 1986. Cell 46:1083). Two kinases are activated in this process: protein kinase C which leads to phosphorylation of the gamma and, to a lesser extent, the epsilon subunits on serine residues and a tyrosine kinase which phosphorylates the p21 subunit (M.D. Patel, L.E. Samelson, and R.D. Klausner. 1987. J. Biol Chem. 262:5831). We sought to determine whether treatment of these cells with NaF could simulate any of these antigen-induced events. Indeed NaF treatment resulted in breakdown of polyphosphoinositides and production of phosphoinositols. This treatment also resulted in a rise in cytosolic free Ca2+. EGTA failed to block this rise suggesting that NaF liberated intracellular stores of Ca2+. Finally NaF treatment resulted in phosphorylation of the gamma and epsilon chains of the T cell receptor indistinguishable from the effects of phorbol esters. The NaF effect was potentiated by addition of A1Cl3 consistent with the view that the active moiety is A1F4-. The A1F4--induced phosphorylations were abolished in cells in which protein kinase C was depleted by prior treatment with phorbol myristate acetate. All of these observations are compatible with the interpretation that the A1F4- phosphorylation is mediated by protein kinase C. Antigen and anti-receptor antibody-induced receptor serine phosphorylation and phophatidylinositol turnover are blocked by raising intracellular levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate. In contrast, A1F4--induced effects were insensitive to cyclic adenosine monophosphate.