The Syk protein-tyrosine kinase is expressed in many hematopoietic cells and is involved in signaling from various receptors for antigen and Fc portions of IgG and IgE. After cross-linking of these receptors, Syk is rapidly phosphorylated on tyrosine residues. We have previously reported that Syk expressed in COS cells is predominantly phosphorylated at both Tyr518 and Tyr519 at its putative autophosphorylation site. In this study, we have examined the role of each of these two residues for the catalytic activity of Syk in vitro and for the Syk-induced phosphorylation of cellular proteins in intact cells. Mutation of either residue had minor effects on the catalytic activity of Syk, and even the double mutant [F518, F519]Syk was about 60% as active as the wild-type enzyme. In intact cells, however, all three mutants consistently failed to induce the extensive tyrosine phosphorylation of cellular proteins typically observed with wild-type Syk. We have recently shown that the doubly phosphorylated Y518/Y519 site is also the site for association of Syk with the SH2 domain of the Lck kinase, which suggests that although phosphates at Y518/Y519 may enhance the catalytic activity of Syk, its interaction with Src family protein-tyrosine kinases is at least equally important for the induction of downstream substrate phosphorylation.