Muscarinic receptor-mediated changes in protein tyrosine phosphorylation were examined in differentiated human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. Treatment of differentiated cells with 1 mM carbachol caused rapid increases in the tyrosine phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK), Cas, and paxillin. The src family kinase-selective inhibitor PP1 reduced carbachol-stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of FAK, Cas, and paxillin by 50 to 75%. In contrast, carbachol-stimulated activation of ERK1/2 was unaffected by PP1. Src family kinase activation by carbachol was further demonstrated by increased carbachol-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of the src-substrate, p120, and tyrosine phosphorylation of the src family kinase activation-associated autophosphorylation site. Site-specific FAK phosphotyrosine antibodies were used to determine that the carbachol-stimulated increase in the autophosphorylation of FAK was unaffected by pretreatment with PP1, whereas the carbachol-stimulated increase in the src family kinase-mediated phosphotyrosine of FAK was completely blocked by pretreatment with PP1. In SH-SY5Y cell lines stably overexpressing Fyn, the phosphotyrosine immunoreactivity of FAK was 625% that of control cells. Thus, muscarinic receptors activate protein tyrosine phosphorylation in differentiated cells, and the tyrosine phosphorylation of FAK, Cas, and paxillin, but not ERK1/2, is mediated by a src family tyrosine kinase activated in response to stimulation of muscarinic receptors.