Filamentous actin in living cultured cells was labeled by microinjecting trace amounts of rhodamine-phalloidin (rh-pha) as a specific, high-affinity probe. The microinjection caused no detectable effect on cell morphology or cell division. The distribution of rh-pha-labeled filaments was then examined in dividing cells using image-intensified fluorescence microscopy, and the exchangeability of labeled filaments along stress fibers was studied during interphase using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching. rh-pha showed a rapid concentration at the contractile ring during cell division. In addition, recovery of fluorescence after photobleaching occurred along stress fibers with a halftime as short as 8 min. These observations suggest that at least some actin filaments undergo continuous movement and reorganization in living cells. This dynamic process may play an important role in various cellular functions.

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