To further understand the functional role that the F-actin binding protein, drebrin (developmentally regulated brain protein), plays in the regulation of F-actin, we characterized its expression in non-neuronal cells. Using nanoelectrospray mass spectrometry methods, we initially identified drebrin in non-neuronal cultured cells. Using a drebrin-specific monoclonal antibody, we were able to detect drebrin protein in several different cell lines derived from fibroblasts, astrocytomas, and simple epithelia, but not in cell lines derived from stratified epithelia. Double-label immunofluorescence experiments of cultured cell monolayers revealed the localization of drebrin at the apical plasma membrane together with a pool of submembranous F-actin. Immunoblot analysis of mouse organs revealed that, in addition to its high levels of expression in brain, drebrin was present in stomach and to a lesser degree in kidney, colon, and urinary bladder. Drebrin protein detected in the non-brain organs migrated faster through SDS-PAGE gels, indicating that the lower molecular weight embryonic brain isoform (E2) may be the prominent isoform in these organs. RT-PCR experiments confirmed the specific expression of the E2 isoform in adult stomach, kidney, and cultured cells. In situ immunofluorescence experiments revealed a cell-type specific pattern in both stomach and kidney. In stomach, drebrin was specifically expressed in the acid-secreting parietal cells of the fundic glands, where it accumulated at the extended apical membrane of the canaliculi. In kidney, drebrin was expressed in acid-secreting type A intercalated cells, where it localized specifically to the apical plasma membrane. Drebrin was expressed as well in the distal tubule epithelial cells where the protein was concentrated at the luminal surface and present at the interdigitations of the basolateral membranes.