The product of the c-raf-1 proto-oncogene, Raf-1, is a 74,000-dalton cytoplasmic serine/threonine protein kinase that has been implicated as an intermediate in signal transduction mechanisms. In the human factor- dependent myeloid cell line MO7, both granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and interleukin-3 (IL-3) were found to induce rapid, dose-dependent phosphorylation of Raf-1, which resulted in altered Raf-1 mobility in sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels. The increase in phosphorylation was due primarily to an increase in phosphoserine, with only a minor component (less than 2%) of phosphotyrosine. PMA (12-phorbol 13-myristic acid) also induced Raf-1 phosphorylation in MO7 cells, but the resulting alteration in electrophoretic mobility was different than that observed after GM-CSF or IL-3. GM-CSF and IL-3 rapidly and transiently increased Raf-1 kinase activity using Histone H1 as a substrate in an immune complex kinase assay in vitro. These results suggest that phosphorylation of Raf-1 could play a role in some aspect of GM-CSF and IL-3 signal transduction.