The Na(+)/Cl(-)-dependent, hemicholinium-3-sensitive choline transporter (CHT) provides choline for acetylcholine biosynthesis. Recent studies show that CHT contains canonical protein kinase C (PKC) serine and threonine residues. We examined the ability of PKC and serine/threonine protein phosphatase 1/2A (PP1/PP2A) to regulate CHT function, surface expression, and phosphorylation. In mouse crude striatal and hippocampal synaptosomes, PKC activators beta-phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (beta-PMA) and beta-phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate produced time- and concentration-dependent reductions in CHT function. PP1/PP2A inhibitors okadaic acid (OKA) and calyculin A (CL-A) produced a time- and concentration-dependent decrease in CHT function. However, tautomycin (PP1 inhibitor) and cyclosporin A (PP2B inhibitor) failed to alter CHT-mediated choline uptake. Choline transport kinetic studies following beta-PMA, OKA, and CL-A treatment revealed a reduction in the maximal choline transport velocity (V(max)) with no change in K(m) for choline. These modulators also produced no change in the total levels of CHT protein in the crude hippocampal and striatal synaptosomes; however, surface biotinylation studies using the membrane-impermeant N-hydroxysuccinimide-biotin in crude synaptosomes following treatment with beta-PMA, OKA, and CL-A indicate significant reductions of CHT levels in biotinylated fractions. Pretreatment with OKA alone, but not beta-PMA, significantly augmented the phosphorylation level of CHT proteins. Our findings suggest that neuronal PKC and PP1/PP2A activity may establish the level of function and surface expression of CHT. These studies also provide the first evidence that CHT is a phosphoprotein and that the basal PP1/PP2A activity may have a dominant role in controlling the levels of CHT phosphorylation.