Rat brain plasma membranes were solubilized in detergent and a glycoprotein-enriched fraction was obtained by lectin affinity chromatography. This glycoprotein fraction contained insulin receptors, as well as protein kinases capable of phosphorylating some exogenously added substrates such as MAP2 (microtubule associated protein 2) and MBP (myelin basic protein), but not ribosomal protein S6. Phosphoamino acid analysis of MAP2 and MBP showed that phosphotyrosine residues, as well as phosphoserine/phosphotheronine residues, were present in both proteins under basal conditions. Whereas the addition of insulin to the rat brain membrane glycoprotein fraction in vitro had no effect on MAP2 phosphorylation, MBP phosphorylation was stimulated 2.7-fold in response to insulin. This phenomenon was dose-dependent, with half-maximal stimulation of MBP phosphorylation observed with 2 nM insulin. Phosphoamino acid analysis of MBP indicated that insulin stimulated the phosphorylation of tyrosine residues nearly three-fold, whereas the phosphorylation of serine or threonine residues was not increased. These results identify MBP as a substrate for the rat brain insulin receptor tyrosine-specific protein kinase in vitro. © 1991.