The actin cytoskeleton is essential for cellular remodeling and many developmental and morphological processes. Twinfilin is a ubiquitous actin monomer–binding protein whose biological function has remained unclear. We discovered and cloned the Drosophila twinfilin homologue, and show that this protein is ubiquitously expressed in different tissues and developmental stages. A mutation in the twf gene leads to a number of developmental defects, including aberrant bristle morphology. This results from uncontrolled polymerization of actin filaments and misorientation of actin bundles in developing bristles. In wild-type bristles, twinfilin localizes diffusively to cytoplasm and to the ends of actin bundles, and may therefore be involved in localization of actin monomers in cells. We also show that twinfilin and the ADF/cofilin encoding gene twinstar interact genetically in bristle morphogenesis. These results demonstrate that the accurate regulation of size and dynamics of the actin monomer pool by twinfilin is essential for a number of actin-dependent developmental processes in multicellular eukaryotes.

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