Protein tyrosine kinases are thought to participate in signal transduction pathways in a variety of cell types. Recent studies have identified a new src family protein tyrosine kinase (hck) that is preferentially expressed in myeloid cells. To examine the hypothesis that this kinase may regulate myeloid cell activity, antisera were generated that define the 59-kD product of the hck gene. Functional activation of human cultured macrophages with LPS augmented the expression of hck transcripts and of p59hck, but decreased the level of transcripts encoded by the closely related c-fgr protooncogene. Thus these two structurally similar src family kinases almost certainly subserve distinct functions. Reasoning from the known properties of the src family protein tyrosine kinases, it is likely that the products of these two protooncogenes assist in regulating the behavior of activated phagocytes.