1. We have sequenced two tryptic/chymotryptic peptides (TC3 and TC3a) containing a third site phosphorylated on rat acetyl-CoA carboxylase by the AMP-activated protein kinase. Comparison with the complete sequence of rat acetyl-CoA carboxylase predicted from the cDNA sequence [López-Casillas et al. (1988) Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 85, 5784-5788] shows that this site corresponds to Ser1215. 2. Comparison of the cDNA sequence with previous amino acid sequence data identifies the other two sites for the AMP-activated protein kinase as Ser79 and Ser1200. A total of eight serine residues phosphorylated in vitro by six protein kinases can now be identified: six of these (Ser23, Ser25, Ser29, Ser77, Ser79 and Ser95) are clustered in the amino terminal region, while two (Ser1200 and Ser1215) are located in the central region. 3. Prior phosphorylation of Ser77 and Ser1200 by cyclic-AMP-dependent protein kinase prevents subsequent phosphorylation of Ser79 and Ser1200, but not Ser1215, by the AMP-activated protein kinase. Phosphorylation of Ser1215 under these conditions is not associated with a change in enzyme activity. 4. Limited trypsin treatment of native acetyl-CoA carboxylase selectively cleaves off the highly phosphorylated amino-terminal region containing Ser79. 5. Phosphorylation at Ser79 and Ser1200 by the AMP-activated protein kinase dramatically decreases Vmax and increases the A0.5 for citrate. Phosphorylation at Ser77 and Ser1200 by cyclic-AMP-dependent protein kinase causes more modest changes in the A0.5 for citrate and the Vmax. Dephosphorylation, or removal of the amino-terminal region containing Ser77/79 using trypsin, reverses all of these effects. 6. These results suggest that the effects of the AMP-activated protein kinase on acetyl-CoA carboxylase activity are mediated entirely by phosphorylation of Ser79, and not Ser1200 and Ser1215. The smaller effects of cyclic-AMP-dependent protein kinase are mediated by phosphorylation of Ser77.