Whether or not various cytosolic protein kinases (and especially the type I cAMP-dependent protein kinase) of rat ventral prostate are specifically regulated with respect to total activity or specific activity by androgen has been investigated. Following androgen deprivation, the total activity per prostate of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (with histone as substrate) changed little at 24 h, declining by about 20% at 96 h. Under these conditions, its specific activity remained unaltered at 24 h, but was markedly enhanced at 96 h postorchiectomy. Type II cAMP-dependent protein kinase in rat ventral prostate cytosol was the only form of cAMP-dependent protein kinases present as determined by measurement of catalytic activity as well as [32P]-8-N3-cAMP binding to the regulatory subunits. There was no alteration in the distribution of the isoenzymes of cAMP-dependent protein kinases or the response of these kinase activities to cAMP owing to castration of animals. The prostatic cytosol also contains free regulatory subunit (with molecular weight similar to that of regulatory subunit R1) which coelutes with type II cAMP-dependent protein kinase. This finding was confirmed by using [32P]-8-N3-cAMP photoaffinity labeling of cAMP-binding proteins. With respect to cAMP-independent protein kinase (measured with dephosphophosvitin as substrate), a decline of 31% in its specific activity was observed in cytosol of prostates from rats castrated for a period of 24 h without significant further change at later periods following castration. However, there was a marked progressive reduction in total activity of this enzyme per prostate (loss of 72% at 96 h postorchiectomy). The increase in specific activity of cAMP-dependent, but not cAMP-independent, protein kinase in the face of decreasing total activity in the cytosol at later periods of castration (e.g., at 96 h) may reflect a slower loss of the former enzyme protein than the bulk of the cytosolic proteins. Administration of testosterone to castrated animals prevented these changes. These data do not indicate a specific regulation by steroid of the type I cAMP-dependent protein kinase in the prostate. Rather, the cAMP-independent protein kinase (with dephosphophosvitin as substrate) appears to be modulated by the androgenic status of the animal.