The growth factor TGF-beta, bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and related factors regulate cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis, controlling the development and maintenance of most tissues. Their signals are transmitted through the phosphorylation of the tumour-suppressor SMAD proteins by receptor protein serine/threonine kinases (RS/TKs), leading to the nuclear accumulation and transcriptional activity of SMAD proteins. Here we report that Smadl, which mediates BMP signals, is also a target of mitogenic growth-factor signalling through epidermal growth factor and hepatocyte growth factor receptor protein tyrosine kinases (RTKs). Phosphorylation occurs at specific serines within the region linking the inhibitory and effector domains of Smad1, and is catalysed by the Erk family of mitogen-activated protein kinases. In contrast to the BMP-stimulated phosphorylation of Smad1, which affects carboxy-terminal serines and induces nuclear accumulation of Smad1, Erk-mediated phosphorylation specifically inhibits the nuclear accumulation of Smad1. Thus, Smadl receives opposing regulatory inputs through RTKs and RS/TKs, and it is this balance that determines the level of Smad1 activity in the nucleus, and so possibly the role of Smad1 in the control of cell fate.