The protein tyrosine phosphatase YopH, produced by the pathogen Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, is an essential virulence determinant involved in antiphagocytosis. Upon infection, YopH is translocated into the target cell, where it recognizes focal complexes. Genetic analysis revealed that YopH harbours a region that is responsible for specific localization of this PTPase to focal complexes in HeLa cells and professional phagocytes. This region is a prerequisite for blocking an immediate–early Yersinia-induced signal within target cells. The region is also essential for antiphagocytosis and virulence, illustrating the biological significance of localization of YopH to focal complexes during Yersinia infection. These results also indicate that focal complexes play a role in the general phagocytic process.