The effect of phosphorylation on the functional activity of eukaryotic elongation factor 2 (eEF-2) was studied using a purified phosphorylated factor. The modified factor was unable to stimulate protein synthesis in an eEF-2-dependent rabbit reticulocyte lysate. The functional alteration was further analyzed by measuring the effects of phosphorylation on the ability of the factor to catalyse the ribosome-dependent hydrolysis of GTP. Kinetic analysis showed that both phosphorylated and unmodified factor was able to hydrolyse GTP with approximately the same maximum rate, indicating that the rate of nucleotide exchange was not impaired by the modification. However, the phosphorylated factor showed a marked reduction in the second-order rate constant, suggesting that the phosphorylation interfered with ribosome.eEF-2 complex formation by reducing the affinity of eEF-2 for the ribosome. This assumption was confirmed by direct measurements of the dissociation constants for the ribosomal complexes containing unmodified and phosphorylated eEF-2.