Amino acid residues 145-163 of calponin have been proposed as a putative actin-binding site [Mezgueldi, M., Mendre, C., Calas, B., Kassab, R. & Fattoum, A. (1995) J. Biol. Chem. 270, 8867-8876]. Our previous work demonstrated that a fragment of calponin, which corresponded to the first repeated region of calponin and contained the preferred site of phosphorylation by protein kinase C [Nakamura, F., Mino, T., Yamamoto, J., Naka, M. & Tanaka, T. (1993) J. Biol. Chem. 268, 6194-6201] enhanced the Ca2+-induced contraction of permeabilized smooth muscle [Itoh, T., Suzuki, A., Watanabe, Y., Mino, T., Naka, M. & Tanaka, T. (1995) J. Biol. Chem. 270, 20400-20403]. In the present study, we compared the interactions with actin of a synthetic peptide (Lys172-His187) that encompassed the first repeated region with those of three other synthetic peptides. Lys172-His187 inhibited the binding of calponin to F-actin in a concentration-dependent manner but not the binding of caldesmon. Gly141-Gly160, including the above-mentioned putative actin-binding site, also competed with intact calponin to the same extent as Lys172-His187. Inhibition of actomyosin MgATPase activity was observed only with Gly141-Gly160. Lys172-His187 and other tested peptides had no effect. However, Gly141-Gly160 and Lys172-His187 reduced the fluorescence intensity of pyrene-labeled F-actin with approximately equal potency. Moreover, Lys172-His187 was able to reverse the inhibition of actomyosin MgATPase activity by calponin. Lys172-His187 was phosphorylated stoichiometrically by protein kinase C and phosphorylation of this peptide decreased its actin-binding activity. These observations suggest the direct involvement of two distinct actin-binding sites, with different regulatory functions, in the interactions of calponin with actin.