Actin is the major extractable protein component from the tube feet of four different species of sea urchin: Arbacia punctulata, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, and Diadema setosum. Actin made up as much as 60% of the total Coomassie Blue-staining material after SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and densitometer analysis. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis resolved two, and possible three, species of actin for each sea urchin of which the dominant component was analogous to the beta form in vertebrates. In a cell-free system from rabbit reticulocytes, total RNA from tube feet stimulated the synthesis of one protein that represented 80% of the total methionine incorporation, migrated with the properties characteristic of actin in a two-dimensional gel system, and on proteolysis yielded fragments identical to purified rabbit actin. The mRNAs from the tube feet of two divergent species of sea urchin, Arbacia punctulata and Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, synthesized actins differing by less than 0.02 pH unit for each isospecies 90% of the DNA copied from tube foot RNA by reverse transcriptase represented a highly abundant sequence class judged by copy DNA(cDNA)-RNA excess hybridization. At least two-thirds of this class represented a low-complexity component, with a Rot1/2 about three times that expected for actin messenger RNA. The remarkable degree of conservation of the actin protein is reflected in concomitant conservation of the protein-coding nucleotide sequences of the messenger RNA, which has allowed the use of a cDNA probe to isolate actin sequences from a human phage library.