Rho-Kinase is a serine/threonine kinase that is involved in the regulation of smooth muscle contraction and cytoskeletal reorganization of nonmuscle cells. While the signal transduction pathway in which Rho-Kinase participates has been and continues to be extensively studied, the kinetic mechanism of Rho-Kinase-catalyzed phosphorylation has not been investigated. We report here elucidation of the kinetic mechanism for Rho-Kinase by using steady-state kinetic studies. These studies used the kinase domain of human Rho-Kinase II (ROCK-II 1-534) with S6 peptide (biotin-AKRRRLSSLRA-NH(2)) as the phosphorylatable substrate. Double-reciprocal plots for two-substrate kinetic data yielded intersecting line patterns with either ATP or S6 peptide as the varied substrate, indicating that Rho-Kinase utilized a ternary complex (sequential) kinetic mechanism. Dead-end inhibition studies were used to investigate the order of binding for ATP and the peptide substrate. The ATP-competitive inhibitors AMP-PCP and Y-27632 were noncompetitive inhibitors versus S6 peptide, and the S6 peptide analogue S6-AA (acetyl-AKRRRLAALRA-NH(2)) was a competitive inhibitor versus S6 peptide and a noncompetitive inhibitor versus ATP. These results indicated a random order of binding for ATP and S6 peptide.