To determine relationships between the hormonal activation of casein kinase II and its phosphorylation state, epidermal growth factor (EGF)-treated and EGF-naive human A-431 carcinoma cells were cultured in the presence of [32P]orthophosphate. Immunoprecipitation experiments indicated that casein kinase II in the cytosol of EGF-treated cells contained approximately 3-fold more incorporated [32P]phosphate than did its counterpart in untreated cells. Levels of kinase phosphorylation paralleled levels of kinase activity over a wide range of EGF concentrations as well as over a time course of hormone action. Approximately 97% of the incorporated [32P]phosphate was found in the beta subunit of casein kinase II. Both activated and hormone-naive kinase contained radioactive phosphoserine and phosphothreonine but no phosphotyrosine. On the basis of proteolytic mapping experiments, EGF treatment of A-431 cells led to an increase in the average [32P]phosphate content (i.e., hyperphosphorylation) of casein kinase II beta subunit peptides which were modified prior to hormone treatment. Finally, the effect of alkaline phosphatase on the reaction kinetics of activated casein kinase II indicated that hormonal stimulation of the kinase resulted from the increase in its phosphorylation state.