Adenylyl cyclase 2 was expressed in Sf9 cells by recombinant baculovirus infection. Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) treatment of cells expressing adenylyl cyclase 2 (AC2) increased basal activity. This increase was blocked by staurosporine, a protein kinase C inhibitor. PMA treatment increased Vmax without affecting Km. Greatest increase in basal activity was seen at physiologically relevant Mg2+ concentrations. PMA treatment did not alter sensitivity to guanine nucleotide stimulatory factor (Gs) but enhanced stimulation at all concentrations of activated Gs alpha subunit tested. AC2 was tagged at the N terminus with an 8-amino acid epitope. Epitope-tagged AC2 was purified to apparent homogeneity in a single step by using an antiepitope antibody-affinity column. The eluate was resolved by SDS/PAGE. Silver staining of the gel showed a 106-kDa band. The purified protein was recognized by antipeptide antibody against a region common to all mammalian adenylyl cyclases. The epitope-tagged enzyme expressed in Sf9 cells was also stimulated by PMA. When cells were labeled with 32P and treated with PMA, a 3-fold increase in 32P incorporation of purified epitope-tagged AC2 was observed. We conclude that activation of protein kinase C results in phosphorylation and stimulation of AC2, a cell-surface G protein effector enzyme. Thus, covalent modification of cell-surface effectors may provide an independent mode for signal transmission through G protein pathways.