To elucidate the role of focal adhesion kinase (pp125FAK) in transformation, its phosphorylation in transformed fibroblasts was compared with that of detransformed fibroblasts induced by a histone deacetylase inhibitor, trichostatin A (TSA). Inhibition of histone deacetylase activity in two different ras-transformed fibroblast lines by TSA induced a morphological change into a flattened and more spread morphology, implying detransformation. These morphological changes included increased spreading ability of transformed NIH 3T3 cells on fibronectin. Of the six tyrosine phosphorylation sites in pp125FAK, phosphorylation at position 861 (Tyr-861) was clearly decreased during detransformation by TSA. It resulted from decreased activity of Src family tyrosine kinase and/or decreased amount of Src kinase interacting with pp125FAK. Furthermore, phosphorylation of Tyr-861 was reduced substantially by the Src family kinase inhibitor, PP1, while overexpression of Src kinase increased its phosphorylation, implying that Src kinase regulates phosphorylation of pp125FAK at Tyr-861. All of these findings suggest that increased phosphorylation of pp125FAK at Tyr-861 correlates with Ras-induced transformation of fibroblasts, and TSA is able to detransform them through regulation of pp125FAK phosphorylation at Tyr-861 by an Src family kinase.