When activated, ERM (ezrin, radixin, moesin) proteins are recruited to the plasma membrane, with concomitant carboxy-terminal threonine phosphorylation, where they crosslink actin filaments to the plasma membrane to form microvilli (reviewed in     ). Here, we report that, when NIH3T3 or HeLa cells were transfected with a constitutively active mutant of the small GTPase RhoA (V14RhoA), microvilli were induced and the level of carboxy-terminal threonine-phosphorylated ERM proteins (CPERM)   increased approximately 30-fold. This increase was not observed following transfection of constitutively active forms of two other Rho-family GTPases, Rac1 and Cdc42, or of a direct effector of Rho, Rho-kinase (also known as ROKalpha or ROCK-II)   . The V14RhoA-induced phosphorylation of ERM proteins was not suppressed by Y-27632, a specific inhibitor of ROCK kinases including Rho-kinase . Overexpression of another direct effector of Rho, phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate 5-kinase (PI4P5K) type Ialpha   , but not a kinase-inactive mutant , increased approximately sixfold the level of CPERM, and induced microvilli. Together with the previous finding that the PI4P5K product phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP(2)) activates ERM proteins in vitro , our data suggest that PIP(2), and not ROCK kinases, is involved in the RhoA-dependent activation of ERM proteins in vivo. The active state of ERM proteins is maintained through threonine phosphorylation by as yet undetermined kinases, leading to microvillus formation.