The antipsychotic drug, haloperidol, elicits the expression of neurotensin and c-fos mRNA in the dorsal lateral region of the striatum and produces an acute cataleptic response in rodents that correlates with the motor side effects of haloperidol in humans. Mice harboring a targeted disruption of the RIIβ subunit of protein kinase A have a profound deficit in cAMP-stimulated kinase activity in the striatum. When treated with haloperidol, RIIβ mutant mice fail to induce either c-fos or neurotensin mRNA and the acute cataleptic response is blocked. However, both wild-type and mutant mice become cataleptic when neurotensin peptide is directly injected into the lateral ventricle, demonstrating that the kinase deficiency does not interfere with the action of neurotensin but rather its synthesis and release. These results establish a direct role for protein kinase A as a mediator of haloperidol induced gene induction and cataleptic behavior.