Myosin II heavy chain (MHC)-specific protein kinase C (MHC-PKC) isolated from the ameba, Dictyostelium discoideum, regulates myosin II assembly and localization in response to the chemoattractant cAMP (Abu-Elneel et al. 1996. J. Biol. Chem. 271:977-984). Recent studies have indicated that cAMP-induced cGMP accumulation plays a role in the regulation of myosin II phosphorylation and localization (Liu, G., and P. Newell. 1991. J. Cell. Sci. 98: 483-490). This report describes the roles of cAMP and cGMP in the regulation of MHC- PKC membrane association, phosphorylation, and activity (hereafter termed MHC-PKC activities). cAMP stimulation of Dictyostelium cells resulted in translocation of MHC-PKC from the cytosol to the membrane fraction, as well as increasing in MHC-PKC phosphorylation and in its kinase activity. We present evidence that MHC is phosphorylated by MHC-PKC in the cell cortex which leads to myosin II dissociation from the cytoskeleton. Use of Dictyostelium mutants that exhibit aberrant cAMP-induced increases in cGMP accumulation revealed that MHC-PKC activities are regulated by cGMP. Dictyostelium streamer F mutant (stmF), which products a prolonged peak of cGMP accumulation upon cAMP stimulation, exhibits prolonged increases in MHC- PKC activities. In contrast, Dictyostelium KI-10 mutant that lacks the normal cAMP-induced cGMP response, or KI-4 mutant that shows nearly normal cAMP- induced cGMP response but has aberrant cGMP binding activity, show no changes in MHC-PKC activities. We provide evidence that cGMP may affect MHC-PKC activities via the activation of cGMP-dependent protein kinase which, in turn, phosphorylates MHC-PKC. The results presented here indicate that cAMP- induced cGMP accumulation regulates myosin II phosphorylation and localization via the regulation of MHC-PKC.