We previously demonstrated that myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) of gizzard is proteolyzed by platelet calpain. It has been also reported that partially cleaved MLCK may phosphorylate myosin light chain (20K) in the absence of calmodulin. Therefore, a possible participation of calpain in 20K phosphorylation was studied in human platelets, utilizing various inhibitors. An epoxy succinate derivative (E-64) or N-ethylmaleimide (NEM), used as calpain antagonist, inhibited 20K phosphorylation of Ca2+-stimulated lysed platelets. A synergistic effect between these calpain antagonists and calmodulin antagonist W-7 was observed. Also, the similar results were obtained in 20K phosphorylation of intact platelets. From these observations, it was suggested that 20K phosphorylation in platelets is mediated by two separate pathways, namely calmodulin and calpain dependent pathways, provided that calpain activity is specifically inhibited by the antagonists used.