Inhibition of cAMP-dependent protein kinase activity by microinjection of a specific physiologic protein inhibitor into sea urchin eggs inhibits the first cleavage after fertilization. Inhibition apparently occurs at some time prior to or during formation of the mitotic spindle. Measurement of the total protein kinase activity of sea urchin egg homogenates after fertilization showed that cAMP-dependent phosphorylation increases after fertilization and then declines prior to or at the time of the first cleavage. It is concluded that a cAMP-dependent phosphorylation plays a significant role in events leading to regulation of mitotic spindle assembly. © 1990.