We have isolated 5' cDNA clones encoding a member of the cellular myosin heavy chain gene family from human leukocytes. The predicted amino acid sequence shows 93% identity to a chicken cellular myosin heavy chain, 76% to chicken smooth muscle, and 40% to human sarcomeric myosin heavy chain. The mRNA is expressed as a 7.4- to 7.9-kb doublet in many nonmuscle cells, and is upregulated in myeloid cell lines on induction from a proliferating to a differentiated state. Antisera raised against a peptide made from the predicted amino acid sequence specifically reacts with a 224-Kd polypeptide in leukocyte cell lines, and the protein is also upregulated during the induction of monocytic and granulocytic differentiation in these cells. The gene for this cellular myosin heavy chain maps to chromosome 22, bands q12.3-q13.1, demonstrating that it is not located in the previously described sarcomeric gene clusters on chromosomes 14 and 17. This cellular myosin heavy chain may be a major contractile protein responsible for movement in myeloid cell lines because no mRNA for sarcomeric myosin heavy chain is detected in these cells.