The effect of protein kinase inhibitors on transferrin receptor (TR) internalization was examined in HeLa, A431, 3T3-L1 cells, and primary chicken embryo fibroblasts. We show that TR endocytosis is not affected by tyrosine kinase or protein kinase C inhibitors, but is inhibited by one serine/threonine kinase inhibitor, H-89. Inhibition occurred within 15 min, was completely reversible after H-89 withdrawal, and was specific for endocytosis rather than pinocytosis since a TR mutant lacking an internalization signal was not affected. Interestingly, H-89 also inhibited the internalization of a TR chimera containing the major histocompatibility complex class II invariant chain cytoplasmic tail, indicating that the effect was not specific for the TR. Since H-89 inhibits a number of kinases, we employed a permeabilized cell endocytosis assay to further characterize the kinase. In permeabilized 3T3-L1 cells, addition of pseudosubstrate inhibitor peptides of casein kinase II (CKII) blocked TR internalization by more than 50%, whereas pseudosubstrates of cyclic AMP-dependent kinase A, protein kinase C, and casein kinase I had no effect. Furthermore, addition of purified CKII to the cell-free reactions containing CKII pseudosubstrates reversed the endocytosis block, suggesting that CKII or a CKII-like activity is required for constitutive endocytosis.