Bordetella dermonecrotizing toxin causes assembly of actin stress fibers and focal adhesions in some cultured cells and induces mobility shifts of the small GTP-binding protein Rho on electrophoresis. We attempted to clarify the molecular basis of the toxin action on Rho. Analysis of the amino acid sequence of toxin-treated RhoA revealed the deamidation of Gln-63 to Glu. The substitution of Glu for Gln-63 of RhoA by site-directed mutagenesis caused a mobility shift on electrophoresis, which was indistinguishable from that of the toxin-treated RhoA. Neither mutant RhoA-bearing Glu-63 nor toxin-treated RhoA significantly differed from untreated wild type RhoA in guanosine 5'-[gamma-thio]triphosphate binding activity but both showed a 10-fold reduction in GTP hydrolysis activity relative to untreated RhoA. C3H10T1/2 cells transfected with cDNA of the mutant RhoA bearing Glu-63 showed extensive formation of actin stress fibers similar to the toxin-treated cells. These results indicate that the toxin catalyzes deamidation of Gln-63 of Rho and renders it constitutively active, leading to formation of actin stress fibers.