Neurofilament (NF), a major neuronal intermediate filament, is composed of three subunits, NF-L, NF-M, and NF-H. All three subunits contain a well conserved glutamate (E)-rich region called "E-segment" in the N terminus of the tail region. Although the E-segments of NF-L and NF-M are phosphorylated by casein kinases, it has not been observed in NF-H. Using mass spectrometric analysis, we identified phosphorylation of the E-segment of NF-H, prepared from rat spinal cords, at Ser-493 and Ser-501 in the Ser-Pro sequences. The E-segment kinase was isolated from rat brain extract using column chromatography and identified as glycogen synthase kinase (GSK) 3beta. GSK3beta was shown to phosphorylate at Ser-493 in vitro by phosphopeptide mapping and site-directed mutagenesis, and in vivo in HEK293 cells using the phospho-Ser-493 antibody, but did not phosphorylate Ser-501. GSK3beta preferred Ser-493 to the KSP-repeated sequences for phosphorylation sites in the NF-H tail domain. Moreover, Ser-493 was a better phosphorylation site for GSK3beta than other proline-directed protein kinases, Cdk5/p35 and ERK. GSK3beta in the spinal cord extract was associated with NF cytoskeletons. Taken together, we concluded that Ser-493 in the E-segment of NF-H is phosphorylated by GSK3beta in rat spinal cords.