Using a mouse embryo cDNA library, we conducted a two-hybrid screening to identify new partners for the small GTPase Rho. One clone obtained by this procedure contained a novel cDNA of 291 base pairs and interacted strongly with RhoA and RhoC, weakly with RhoB, and not at all with Rac1 and Cdc42Hs. Full-length cDNAs were then isolated from a mouse brain library. While multiple splicing variants were common, we identified three cDNAs with an identical open reading frame encoding a 61-kDa protein that we named rhotekin (from the Japanese "teki," meaning target). The N-terminal part of rhotekin, encoded by the initial cDNA and produced in bacteria as a glutathione S-transferase fusion protein, exhibited in vitro binding to 35S-labeled guanosine 5'-3-O-(thio)triphosphate-bound Rho, but not to Rac1 or Cdc42Hs in ligand overlay assays. In addition, this peptide inhibited both endogenous and GTPase-activating protein-stimulated Rho GTPase activity. The amino acid sequence of this region shares approximately 30% identity with the Rho-binding domains of rhophilin and a serine/threonine kinase, PKN, two other Rho target proteins that we recently identified (Watanabe, G., Saito, Y., Madaule, P., Ishizaki, T., Fujisawa, K., Morii, N., Mukai, H., Ono, Y., Kakizuka, A., and Narumiya, S. (1996) Science 271, 645-648). Thus, not only is rhotekin a novel partner for Rho, but it also belongs to a wide family of proteins that bear a consensus Rho-binding sequence at the N terminus. To our knowledge, this is the first conserved sequence for Rho effectors, and we have termed this region Rho effector motif class 1.