We have recently shown that inhibition of protein phosphatases in platelets causes increases in protein phosphorylations with a concomitant inhibition of platelet responses. The burst in protein phosphorylation appears to be catalyzed by messenger-independent protein kinases. The aim of the present study was to characterize the presence of broad families of protein kinases found in platelets. Lysates of control and thrombin-stimulated platelets were prepared, and proteins were separated on MONO Q fast protein liquid chromatography. In addition to the presence of histone protein kinase and tyrosine kinase activities, human platelets contain casein kinase II (CKII) activity as assessed by phosphorylation of a specific substrate peptide. Western blot analysis and immunogold electron microscopy studies further showed the presence of alpha-, alpha'-, and beta- subunits of CKII. The enzyme appears to be distributed throughout the cytosol and not secreted after thrombin treatment. Immunoprecipitation studies suggest that at least some of the holoenzymes exist as an alpha alpha' beta 2 complex. Although no activation of the enzyme was detected after thrombin treatment, our results show that CKII is a major messenger-independent protein kinase in platelets.