The ethylene signal is transduced in plant cells via phosphorylation events. To identify protein kinases whose levels of expression are modulated by the plant hormone ethylene, we utilized a differential reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction approach using mRNA extracted from ethylene-treated and untreated tobacco leaves. An ethylene-induced cDNA clone, PK12, encoding a protein kinase, was isolated. PK12 is a new member of the recently defined LAMMER family of protein kinases, which has been identified in mammals, flies, yeasts, and plants. The LAMMER kinases are related to the cell cycle-dependent CDC2-type kinases and are characterized by their similarity at kinase subdomain X. The recombinant PK12 protein autophosphorylates in vitro on serine, threonine, and tyrosine residues, thereby making it a member of the dual-specificity protein kinases. Immunoprecipitation of PK12 from plant extracts and kinase assay revealed that the apparent PK12 activity is rapidly and transiently increased when plants are treated with ethylene. By using in situ hybridization, we detected accumulation of the PK12 transcript in leaves after ethylene treatment and in the untreated flower abscission zone. The tissue in this zone is known to constitutively express ethylene-regulated genes.