Cysteine-rich 61 (CYR61, CCN1) is a heparin-binding, extracellular, matrix-associated protein of the cysteine-rich 61/nephroblastoma family, which also includes connective tissue growth factor, nephroblastoma overexpressed, Wnt-induced secreted protein-1 (WISP-1), WISP-2, and WISP-3. CYR61 induces angiogenesis in vivo and supports cell adhesion, promotes cell migration, and enhances growth factor-stimulated mitogenesis in fibroblasts and endothelial cells. Although the expression of CYR61 has been observed in arterial walls, its function in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) has not been examined to date. Here we show that purified CYR61 supports VSMC adhesion in a dose-dependent, saturable manner through integrin alpha(6)beta(1) with an absolute requirement of cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans. In addition, CYR61 induces VSMC chemotaxis, but not chemokinesis, through integrin alpha(6)beta(1) and heparan sulfate proteoglycans. Heparin-binding defective CYR61 mutants are unable to support VSMC adhesion but can still induce chemotaxis at a reduced level. Following balloon angioplasty in rat carotid artery, CYR61 protein level is elevated in the media and neointima of the injured vessel by d 4 post angioplasty, peaks from d 7 to 14, and remains high for at least 28 d. These data demonstrate the activities of CYR61 in VSMCs, identify the receptors that mediate its functions, and show that CYR61 is synthesized in arterial smooth muscle walls during proliferative restenosis. Together, these results implicate CYR61 as a novel factor that modulates the responses of VSMCs to vascular injury.