We have characterized a phosphoserine binding domain in the coactivator CREB-binding protein (CBP) which interacts with the protein kinase A-phosphorylated, and hence activated, form of the cyclic AMP-responsive factor CREB. The CREB binding domain, referred to as KIX, is alpha helical and binds to an unstructured kinase-inducible domain in CREB following phosphorylation of CREB at Ser-133. Phospho-Ser-133 forms direct contacts with residues in KIX, and these contacts are further stabilized by hydrophobic residues in the kinase-inducible domain which flank phospho-Ser-133. Like the src homology 2 (SH2) domains which bind phosphotyrosine-containing peptides, phosphoserine 133 appears to coordinate with a single arginine residue (Arg-600) in KIX which is conserved in the CBP-related protein P300. Since mutagenesis of Arg-600 to Gln severely reduces CREB-CBP complex formation, our results demonstrate that, as in the case of tyrosine kinase pathways, signal transduction through serine/threonine kinase pathways may also require protein interaction motifs which are capable of recognizing phosphorylated amino acids.