Abstract p21 is a protein with important roles in cell proliferation, cell cycle regulation and apoptosis. Several studies have demonstrated that its intracellular localization plays an important role in the functional regulation and binding of calmodulin favors its nuclear translocation. However, the detail mechanism of the interaction with p21 and calmodulin is not well understood. In this report, peptides derived from the C-terminal of p21 that cover the binding domain of calmodulin were used to investigate the association of p21 with calmodulin. We found p21 141–164 interaction with Ca 2+-saturated dansyl-labelled calmodulin caused a significant increase in dansyl fluorescence intensity and a blue shift of the maximum emission from 510 to 475 nm. The Trp fluorescence intensities of mutated p21 141–164 peptides (F150W, Y151W and F159W) increased upon binding to Ca 2+-saturated calmodulin and fluorescence maxima were blue shifted from 350 nm to 330 nm. The results suggested p21 141–164 is most likely buried in the hydrophobic binding tunnel of calmodulin. Both dansyl and Trp fluorescence titrations generated dissociation constants around 0.1 μM and a stoichiometry of 1:1, which was further confirmed by nondenaturing gel band shift electrophoresis. Fluorescence titrations and Trp fluorescence quenching results indicated electrostatic interaction is involved in this association. Upon binding to calmodulin, p21 141–164 remained largely unstructured and showed only about 15% α-helix. In contrast to other calmodulin binding peptide, the dominant force in the association of p21 141–164 with calmodulin may be electrostatic interaction. Our results would be helpful for understanding the molecular details of p21 and calmodulin interaction.