Transformation by activated pp60c-src has been correlated by genetic analysis with the tyrosine phosphorylation of a 120 kilodalton (kDa) protein, p120. We now demonstrate tyrosine phosphorylation of p120 following stimulation of cells by growth factors whose receptors have intrinsic tyrosine-specific protein kinase activity. Stimulation of quiescent NIH3T3 cells with platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) resulted in the tyrosine phosphorylation of p120 that was maximal by 5 min and returned to background levels by 30 min. p120 was also phosphorylated on tyrosine after addition of colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1) or epidermal growth factor (EGF) to NIH3T3 cells engineered to express high levels of their respective receptors. Two additional src substrates, p110 and p85, were analysed under identical assay conditions. PDGF, CSF-1, and EGF induced only a minimal increase in the tyrosine phosphorylation of p85 and no change in the phosphorylation of p110. Thus, the marked ligand-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of p120 was a property not shared by the other src substrates examined. Immunoblotting with antibodies to p120 and the ras GTPase activating protein, GAP, suggests that p120 and GAP are unrelated. In addition, the amino acid sequences of four cyanogen bromide peptides derived from p120 showed no homology to GAP or to sequences in either the PIR or Swiss-Prot databases. These data suggest that tyrosine phosphorylation of p120 may contribute to both signal transduction through growth factor receptors and pp60src induced transformation.