There is increasing evidence that the Src family of cytoplasmic tyrosine protein kinases is involved in the signal transduction of antigen receptor- and Fc receptor-mediated cellular activation. This function relates at least in part to the ability of Src-related enzymes to phosphorylate conserved tyrosine-based motifs in the cytoplasmic domains of the antigen and Fc receptors. The catalytic function of Src-like products is repressed by phosphorylation of a conserved carboxy-terminal tyrosine residue, which is mediated by another cellular tyrosine protein kinase, p50csk. Based on this property, it is postulated that Csk is a potent negative regulator of antigen and Fc receptor signalling. The balance between the actions of Src-related kinases and the p50csk is likely a major determinant of immune responsiveness.