The basic effector domain of myristoylated alanine-rich C kinase substrate (MARCKS), a major protein kinase C substrate, binds electrostatically to acidic lipids on the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane; interaction with Ca2+/calmodulin or protein kinase C phosphorylation reverses this binding. Our working hypothesis is that the effector domain of MARCKS reversibly sequesters a significant fraction of the L-alpha-phosphatidyl-D-myo-inositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) on the plasma membrane. To test this, we utilize three techniques that measure the ability of a peptide corresponding to its effector domain, MARCKS(151-175), to sequester PIP2 in model membranes containing physiologically relevant fractions (15-30%) of the monovalent acidic lipid phosphatidylserine. First, we measure fluorescence resonance energy transfer from Bodipy-TMR-PIP2 to Texas Red MARCKS(151-175) adsorbed to large unilamellar vesicles. Second, we detect quenching of Bodipy-TMR-PIP2 in large unilamellar vesicles when unlabeled MARCKS(151-175) binds to vesicles. Third, we identify line broadening in the electron paramagnetic resonance spectra of spin-labeled PIP2 as unlabeled MARCKS(151-175) adsorbs to vesicles. Theoretical calculations (applying the Poisson-Boltzmann relation to atomic models of the peptide and bilayer) and experimental results (fluorescence resonance energy transfer and quenching at different salt concentrations) suggest that nonspecific electrostatic interactions produce this sequestration. Finally, we show that the PLC-delta1-catalyzed hydrolysis of PIP2, but not binding of its PH domain to PIP2, decreases markedly as MARCKS(151-175) sequesters most of the PIP2.