Platelet-derived coagulation factor Va is the primary secreted substrate for a thrombin-stimulation-dependent platelet kinase. Human platelet factor Va, consisting of a molecular weight (M(r)) 105,000 heavy chain and an M(r) 74,000 light chain, incorporates phosphate in at least two sites on the light chain. Phosphorylated factor Va represents 50% of the secreted protein-associated phosphate. This modification occurs exclusively at serine residues and is inhibited by H-7 and staurosporine, which suggests a protein kinase C (PKC)-mediated event. Purified plasma factor V and Va are phosphorylated in the light chain region by rat brain PKC. The activity of platelet factor Va in prothrombinase on platelets is not altered when phosphorylation is inhibited by staurosporine. Plasma-derived factor Va in the presence of thrombin stimulated platelets is phosphorylated on both the heavy chain and the light chain. Plasma factor V and factor Va heavy chain phosphorylation occurs without light chain phosphorylation in the presence of added 32P gamma-ATP and non-stimulated or collagen- stimulated platelets or casein kinase II. This differential phosphorylation of factor Va heavy and light chain shows two independent platelet kinase activities that act on factor Va. The heavy chain factor V/Va kinase activity is similar to casein kinase II, which we have demonstrated previously to act on factor Va and accelerate activated protein C inactivation of the cofactor. Our data show platelet-dependent phosphorylation of platelet and plasma factor V and Va resulting in significant covalent modifications of the cofactor. These modifications may play a role in directing the extracellular distribution of factor V and factor Va.