A novel, p125(FAK) homologue, CADTK, has been detected in neural, epithelial, or hematopoietic cells but not in fibroblasts. We now demonstrate CADTK expression in a mesenchymal cell, rat aortic smooth muscle cells (RSMC). Angiotensin II (Ang II) or platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF-BB and PDGF-AA) markedly stimulated CADTK tyrosine phosphorylation in RSMC but did not affect p125(FAK) phosphorylation. The PDGF-dependent CADTK tyrosine phosphorylation was slower and more prolonged than that of Ang II, correlating well with the differential effects of these agonists on cytosolic calcium ([Ca2+](i)) signaling. An intracellular calcium chelator inhibited both the rapid and sustained activation of CADTK by Ang II and PDGF. Extracellular calcium chelation inhibited the PDGF-stimulated increase in CADTK tyrosine phosphorylation as well as the sustained (but not the early) activation by Ang II. In contrast, p125(FAK) tyrosine phosphorylation was maximal in quiescent, adherent RSMC and was not affected by incubation with EGTA. Depletion of protein kinase C activity partially inhibited beth the Ang II- and PDGF-induced CADTK tyrosine phosphorylation. Additional results confirm a relation between CADTK and the cytoskeleton. First, the tyrosine phosphorylation of paxillin correlated with activation of CADTK; this increase was inhibited by EGTA. Second, cytochalasin D blocked the PDGF- or Ang II-stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of CADTK, suggesting a role for the cytoskeleton in agonist-dependent CADTK activation. Third, immunofluorescence analysis of CADTK localization demonstrated actin-like cytoskeleton staining extending into focal contacts. These results suggest that in mesenchymal cells, CADTK is localized to and activated by an actin cytoskeleton-dependent mechanism; a mechanism that is regulated in a calcium and protein kinase C-dependent manner independently of p125(FAK).