The 14-3-3 proteins are a family of acidic proteins found mainly in the brain and are suggested to have a role in monoamine synthesis based on their ability to activate tyrosine and tryptophan hydroxylases in the presence of type II Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase. Recently, however, it has been demonstrated that a member of the 14-3-3 family, termed Exo1, stimulates Ca(2+)-dependent exocytosis in permeabilized adrenal chromaffin cells, suggesting that this protein family may influence the protein kinase C-mediated control of Ca(2+)-dependent exocytosis. Here we show that the 14-3-3 proteins activate protein kinase C at about 2-fold more than the known level of the activated protein kinase, i.e. the activity of protein kinase C in the presence of Ca2+ and phospholipids. This raises the possibility that the cellular activity of protein kinase C is regulated by diverse members of the 14-3-3 family and that the reported ability of Exo1 to reactivate Ca(2+)-dependent exocytosis is based on its stimulatory effect on protein kinase C activity. The 14-3-3 family, therefore, appears to be a multifunctional regulator of cell signalling processes mediated by two types of Ca(2+)-dependent protein kinase, protein kinase C and type II calmodulin-dependent protein kinase.