Vasopressin controls water excretion through regulation of aquaporin-2(AQP2) trafficking in renal collecting duct cells. Using mass spectrometry, we previously demonstrated four phosphorylated serines (Ser 256, Ser261, Ser264, and Ser269) in the carboxyl-terminal tail of rat AQP2. Here, we used phospho-specific antibodies and protein mass spectrometry to investigate the roles of vasopressin and cyclic AMP in the regulation of phosphorylation at Ser269 and addressed the role of this site in AQP2 trafficking. The V2 receptor-specific vasopressin analog dDAVP increased Ser(P)269-AQP2 abundance more than 10-fold, but at a rate much slower than the corresponding increase in Ser 256 phosphorylation. Vasopressin-mediated changes in phosphorylation at both sites were mimicked by cAMP addition and inhibited by protein kinase A (PKA) antagonists. In vitro kinase assays, however, demonstrated that PKA phosphorylates Ser256, but not Ser269. Phosphorylation of AQP2 at Ser269 did not occur when Ser256 was replaced by an unphosphorylatable amino acid, as seen in both S256L-AQP2 mutant mice and in Madin-Darby canine kidney cells expressing an S256A mutant, suggesting that Ser269 phosphorylation depends upon prior phosphorylation at Ser 256. Immunogold electron microscopy localized Ser(P) 269-AQP2 solely in the apical plasma membrane of rat collecting duct cells, in contrast to the other three phospho-forms (found in both apical plasma membrane and intracellular vesicles). Madin-Darby canine kidney cells expressing an S269D "phosphomimic" AQP2 mutant showed constitutive localization at the plasma membrane. The data support a model in which vasopressin-mediated phosphorylation of AQP2 at Ser269: (a) depends on prior PKA-mediated phosphorylation of Ser256 and (b) enhances apical plasma membrane retention of AQP2.