Alterations in intracellular oxidative status activate several signal transduction pathways resulting in distinct patterns of gene expression. Treatment of colorectal cancer cells with antioxidants can lead to apoptosis by induction of p21 through a mechanism involving CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein beta (C/EBPbeta). Herein, we demonstrate that the antioxidant pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate activates cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) in a colorectal cancer cell line DKO-1. Activation of PKA phosphorylates Ser299 within C/EBPbeta, which is essential for protein translocation to the nucleus. Pharmacological inhibition of PKA and mutation of Ser299 to alanine blocks C/EBPbeta nuclear translocation and induction of p21. Our results indicate that a cAMP-dependent phosphorylation of C/EBPbeta at Ser299 is critical for nuclear translocation of this protein and its subsequent transactivation of genes in response to antioxidant treatment.