We placed a specific inhibitor of cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) under the control of a prestalk-specific promoter. Cells containing this construct form normally patterned slugs, but under environmental conditions that normally trigger immediate culmination, the slugs undergo prolonged migration. Slugs that eventually enter culmination do so normally but arrest as elongated, hairlike structures that contain neither stalk nor spore cells. Mutant cells do not migrate to the stalk entrance when codeveloped with wild-type cells and show greatly reduced inducibility by DIF, the stalk cell morphogen. These results suggest that the activity of PKA is necessary for the altered pattern of movement of prestalk cells at culmination and their differentiation into stalk cells. We propose a model whereby a protein repressor, under the control of PKA, inhibits precocious induction of stalk cell differentiation by DIF and so regulates the choice between slug migration and culmination.