Cell shape-dependent control of cell-cycle progression underlies the spatial differentials of growth that drive tissue morphogenesis, yet little is known about how cell distortion impacts the biochemical signaling machinery that is responsible for growth control. Here we show that the Rho family GTPase, RhoA, conveys the "cell shape signal" to the cell-cycle machinery in human capillary endothelial cells. Cells accumulating p27(kip1) and arrested in mid G(1) phase when spreading were inhibited by restricted extracellular matrix adhesion, whereas constitutively active RhoA increased expression of the F-box protein Skp2 required for ubiquitination-dependent degradation of p27(kip1) and restored G(1) progression in these cells. Studies with dominant-negative and constitutively active forms of mDia1, a downstream effector of RhoA, and with a pharmacological inhibitor of ROCK, another RhoA target, revealed that RhoA promoted G(1) progression by altering the balance of activities between these two downstream effectors. These data indicate that signaling proteins such as mDia1 and ROCK, which are thought to be involved primarily in cytoskeletal remodeling, also mediate cell growth regulation by coupling cell shape to the cell-cycle machinery at the level of signal transduction.