p300 and CBP are general transcriptional coactivators implicated in different cellular processes, including regulation of the cell cycle, differentiation, tumorigenesis, and apoptosis. Posttranslational modifications such as phosphorylation are predicted to select a specific function of p300/CBP in these processes; however, the identification of the kinases that regulate p300/CBP activity in response to individual stimuli and the physiological significance of p300 phosphorylation have not been elucidated. Here we demonstrate that the cardiotoxic anticancer agent doxorubicin (adriamycin) induces the phosphorylation of p300 in primary neonatal cardiomyocytes. Hyperphosphorylation precedes the degradation of p300 and parallels apoptosis in response to doxorubicin. Doxorubicin-activated p38 kinases alpha and beta associate with p300 and are implicated in the phosphorylation-mediated degradation of p300, as pharmacological blockade of p38 prevents p300 degradation. p38 phosphorylates p300 in vitro at both the N and C termini of the protein, and enforced activation of p38 by the constitutively active form of its upstream kinase (MKK6EE) triggers p300 degradation. These data support the conclusion that p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase regulates p300 protein stability and function in cardiomyocytes undergoing apoptosis in response to doxorubicin.