Graf is a GTPase-activating protein for Rho that interacts with focal adhesion kinase and co-localizes with the actin cytoskeleton (Hildebrand, J. D., Taylor, J. M. and Parsons, J. T. (1996) Mol. Cell. Biol. 16, 3169-3178). We examined the expression and regulation of Graf as a prelude to understanding the role of Graf in mediating signal transduction in vivo. We demonstrated that Graf is a ubiquitously expressed 95-kDa protein with high levels observed in heart and brain and cells derived from these tissues. Stimulation of PC12 cells with epidermal growth factor or nerve growth factor induced a phosphatase-reversible mobility shift upon gel electrophoresis, indicative of phosphorylation. In vitro, purified mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase catalyzed the phosphorylation of Graf on serine 510, suggesting that Graf phosphorylation may be mediated through MAP kinase signaling. In addition, the mutation of serine 510 to alanine inhibited the epidermal growth factor-induced mobility shift of mutant Graf protein in vivo, consistent with serine 510 being the site of in vivo phosphorylation. Based on these data we suggest that phosphorylation of Graf by MAP kinase or related kinases may be a mechanism by which growth factor signaling modulates Rho-mediated cytoskeletal changes in PC12 and perhaps other cells.