We have detected novel phosphotyrosine epitopes at the kinetochores of mitotic chromosomes in rat kangaroo PtK1 and mouse P388D1 tissue culture cells. Immunofluorescence labeling of detergent-resistant cytoskeletons reveals that these phosphotyrosine epitopes are tightly bound at the centrosomes and kinetochores of mitotic cells. These phosphoepitopes are found at the kinetochores during only prophase and prometaphase. Inclusion of a mixture of phosphatase inhibitors in the cell extraction procedure was necessary to preserve these previously undetected phosphotyrosine epitopes. The use of the phosphatase inhibitor mixture also improved the detection of the centrosome and kinetochore antigens recognized by the monoclonal antibody MPM-2. The MPM-2 antibody labels a subset of phosphothreonine-containing antigens found primarily during M phase. Ultrastructural immunolabeling studies indicated that both the phosphotyrosine and the MPM-2 phosphoepitopes were contained in both the outer and the inner dense plaques of the kinetochore. We developed large-scale chromosome isolation procedures designed to maintain chromosome protein phosphorylation. Immunoblot analysis revealed that the phosphotyrosine and MPM-2 antibodies recognized a number of chromosomal proteins, some of which were concentrated in the chromosome scaffold fraction prepared by nuclease digestion and salt extraction of whole chromosomes. The strictly regulated appearance of the phosphotyrosine and MPM-2 epitopes at the kinetochores of chromosomes during various stages of mitosis suggests that these phosphoepitopes may be involved in signal transduction pathways controlling kinetochore assembly and function during mitosis.