The role of hyaluronan binding protein 1 (HABP1) in cell signaling was investigated and in vitro kinase assay demonstrated that it is a substrate for MAP kinase. Phosphorylation of endogenous HABP1 was also observed following treatment of J774 cells with PMA. HABP1 was coimmunoprecipitated with activated ERK, confirming their physical interaction in the cellular context. Upon PMA stimulation of normal rat fibroblast (F111) and transformed (HeLa) cells, the HABP1 level in the cytoplasm gradually decreased with a parallel increase in the nucleus. In HeLa cells, within 6 h of PMA treatment, HABP1 was completely translocated to the nucleus, which was prevented by PD98059, a selective inhibitor of ERK. We also observed that the nuclear translocation of HABP1 is concurrent with that of ERK, suggesting that ERK activation is a requirement for the translocation of HABP1. It is thus established for the first time that HABP1 is a substrate for ERK and an integral part of the MAP kinase cascade.