ARPP-16 and ARPP-19 are closely related cAMP-regulated phosphoproteins that were initially discovered in mammalian brain as in vitro substrates for protein kinase A (PKA). ARPP-16 is enriched in dopamine-responsive medium spiny neurons in the striatum, while ARPP-19 is ubiquitously expressed. ARPP-19 is highly homologous to alpha-endosulfine and database searches allowed the identification of novel related proteins in D. melanogaster, C. elegans, S. mansoni and yeast genomes. Using isoform-specific antibodies, we now show that ARPP-19 is composed of at least two differentially expressed isoforms (termed ARPP-19 and ARPP-19e/endosulfine). All ARPP-16/19 family members contain a conserved consensus site for phosphorylation by PKA (RKPSLVA in mammalian ARPP-16 and ARPP-19), and this site was shown to be efficiently phosphorylated in vitro by PKA. An antibody that specifically recognized the phosphorylated form of ARPP-16/19/19e was used to examine the phosphorylation of ARPP-16/19 family members in intact cells. In striatal slices, the phosphorylation of ARPP-16 was increased in response to activation of D(1)-type dopamine receptors, and decreased in response to activation of D(2)-type dopamine receptors. In non-neuronal cells, ARPP-19 was highly phosphorylated in response to activation of PKA. These results establish that ARPP-16/19 proteins constitute a family of PKA-dependent intracellular messengers that function in all cells. The high levels of ARPP-16 in striatal neurons and its bi-directional regulation by dopamine suggest a specific role in dopamine-dependent signal transduction. The conservation of this protein family through evolution suggests that it subserves an important cellular function that is regulated by PKA.