In this paper we report the rapid phosphorylation of a cytosolic 100 kDa protein during stimulation of secretion from dispersed aggregates of parotid acinar cells with Ca(2+)-mobilizing secretagogues (carbachol, Substance P, ATP and the Ca2+ ionophore A23187). Phosphorylation was inhibited by removal of extracellular Ca2+ but was not observed during stimulation with phorbol esters, suggesting that this protein is not a substrate for protein kinase C. Two-dimensional PAGE and immunoprecipitation with a specific antiserum indicated that this protein is elongation factor 2, whose Ca2+ calmodulin-dependent phosphorylation has been shown to inhibit protein synthesis [Nairn & Palfrey (1987) J. Biol. Chem. 262, 17299-17303]. These results suggest that phosphorylation of elongation factor 2 is the molecular mechanism for the inhibition of protein synthesis which has been previously observed in rat parotid cells during stimulation with Ca(2+)-mobilizing secretagogues.