BCL2 family members are subject to regulation at multiple levels, providing checks on their ability to contribute to tumorigenesis. However, findings on post-translational BCL2 phosphorylation in different systems have been difficult to integrate. Another antiapoptotic family member, MCL1, exhibits a difference in electrophoretic mobility upon phosphorylation induced by an activator of PKC (12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate; TPA) versus agents that act on microtubules or protein phosphatases 1/2A. A multiple pathway model is now presented, which demonstrates that MCL1 can undergo distinct phosphorylation events - mediated through separate signaling processes and involving different target sites - in cells that remain viable in the presence of TPA versus cells destined to die upon exposure to taxol or okadaic acid. Specifically, TPA induces phosphorylation at a conserved extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) site in the PEST region (Thr 163) and slows turnover of the normally rapidly degraded MCL1 protein; however, okadaic acid and taxol induce ERK-independent MCL1 phosphorylation at additional discrete sites. These findings add a new dimension to our understanding of the complex regulation of antiapoptotic BCL2 family members by demonstrating that, in addition to transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation, MCL1 is subject to multiple, separate, post-translational phosphorylation events, produced in living versus dying cells at ERK-inducible versus ERK-independent sites.