Myristoylated alanine-rich C kinase substrate (MARCKS), an acidic, heat-stable protein, is involved in important physiological functions such as neurotransmitter release and re-uptake. It is also a substrate for phosphorylation by protein kinase C (PKC) and has been shown to play a role in the pathophysiology of mood disorders. In this study, protein and mRNA expression of MARCKS as well as phosphorylation of MARCKS were determined in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampus of postmortem brain obtained from suicide victims, with or without depression, and normal control subjects. There were no significant differences in mRNA and protein levels of MARCKS between suicide subjects and controls. However, protein levels of MARCKS were significantly increased in the membrane but not in cytosol fraction of PFC and hippocampus obtained from depressed suicide subjects as compared to normal controls. When PKC-mediated MARCKS phosphorylation was determined, it was observed that MARCKS phosphorylation was significantly decreased in the membrane fraction of PFC and hippocampus obtained from total suicide subjects as well as depressed and non-depressed suicide subjects compared with control population. Although the mechanism of such alterations in MARCKS in depressed and non-depressed suicide subjects is not clear, results of the present study indicate that an increase in membrane MARCKS is associated with depressed suicide victims and a decrease in MARCKS phosphorylation may be a common feature of suicide victims independent of diagnosis. © 2003 Published by Elsevier Ltd.