Calreticulin isolated from spinach leaves has been specifically phosphorylated in vitro by protein kinase CK2 while animal calreticulin from rabbit liver is not a substrate of this kinase under the same conditions. Phosphoserine is the only phosphoamino acid detected. High affinity binding (Km = 4.4 microM) and a nearly stoichiometric incorporation of phosphate was determined. Partially purified spinach calreticulin is phosphorylated at the same site(s) by a copurifying protein kinase sharing biochemical properties very similar if not identical to those of mammalian CK2. Other plant calreticulins isolated from Liriodendron tulipifera appear to be also phosphorylated by CK2.