Stimulation of antigen receptors in T and B cells leads to the activation of the Src and Syk families of protein tyrosine kinases (PTK). These PTKs subsequently phosphorylate numerous intracellular substrates, including the 95-kD protooncogene product Vav. Vav is essential for both T and B cell development and T and B cell antigen receptor-mediated signal transduction. After receptor ligation, Vav associates with phosphorylated Syk and ZAP-70 PTKs, an interaction that depends upon its SH2 domain. Here we demonstrate that a point mutation of tyrosine 315 (Y315F) in ZAP-70, a putative Vav SH2 domain binding site, eliminated the Vav- ZAP-70 interaction. Moreover, the Y315 mutation impaired the function of ZAP-70 in antigen receptor signaling. Surprisingly, this mutation also resulted in marked reduction in the tyrosine phosphorylation of ZAP-70, Vav, SLP-76, and Shc. These data demonstrate that the Vav binding site in ZAP-70 plays a critical role in antigen receptor-mediated signal transduction.