Action polymerization is essential for a variety of cellular processes including movement, cell division and shape change. The induction of actin polymerization requires the generation of free actin filament barbed ends, which results from the severing or uncapping of pre-existing actin filaments  , or de novo nucleation, initiated by the Arp2/3 complex     . Although little is known about the signaling pathways that regulate actin assembly, small GTPases of the Rho family appear to be necessary    . In thrombin-stimulated platelets, the Rho family GTPase Rac1 induces actin polymerization by stimulating the uncapping of actin filament barbed ends . The mechanism by which Rac regulates uncapping is unclear, however. We previously demonstrated that Rac interacts with a type I phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate 5-kinase (PIP 5-kinase) in a GTP-independent manner  . Because PIP 5-kinases synthesize phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PI(4,5)P(2)), a lipid that dissociates capping proteins from the barbed ends of actin filaments   , they are good candidates for mediating the effects of Rac on actin assembly. Here, we have identified the Rac-associated PIP 5-kinase as the PIP 5-kinase isoforms alpha and beta. When added to permeabilized platelets, PIP 5-kinase alpha induced actin filament uncapping and assembly. In contrast, a kinase-inactive PIP 5-kinase alpha mutant failed to induce actin assembly and blocked assembly stimulated by thrombin or Rac. Furthermore, thrombin- or Rac-induced actin polymerization was inhibited by a point mutation in the carboxyl terminus of Rac that disrupts PIP 5-kinase binding. These results demonstrate that PIP 5-kinase alpha is a critical mediator of thrombin- and Rac-dependent actin assembly.