The rolled (rl) gene of Drosophila encodes a homologue of vertebrate mitogen-activated protein kinases. Genetic analyses have shown that the gain-of-function mutation rolledSevenmaker (rlSem) is sufficient to activate developmental pathways controlled by distinct receptor tyrosine kinases, such as Sevenless, Torso, and the Drosophila epidermal growth factor receptor homologue. Here we show that mutant RlSem protein, immunoprecipitated from transiently transfected COS cells, exhibits a moderate increase in kinase activity compared with wild-type Rl protein. Time course studies revealed that RlSem is more active than Rl following short term as well as prolonged treatment with epidermal growth factor. Interestingly, a more pronounced difference in kinase activity is observed when the proteins are immunoprecipitated from extracts of Drosophila rl and rlSem larvae. In fact, the kinase activity of RlSem from larvae extracts is comparable to the kinase activity of larvae expressing either an activated Sevenless receptor or an activated Raf kinase. We also demonstrate that Dsor1, which has been placed upstream of rl genetically, is able to phosphorylate and activate Rl in vitro.