Maize beta-tubulins are encoded by a large multigene family with at least nine members, as determined by Southern blot analysis. Two expressed genes, represented by the beta 1 genomic clone and the beta 2 cDNA clone, were examined in this study. The two genes encode beta-tubulins which show 94% sequence identity at the amino acid level. Maize beta 1 transcript levels were highest in seedling root tip and tissue culture cells, which are both rapidly dividing tissues. No transcripts were detected in non-dividing leaf tissue. In contrast, beta 2 transcripts were present at relatively high levels in tissue culture cells and at lower levels in seedling root tip and leaf tissue. The electrophoretic mobility of the beta 2 polypeptide was examined in relation to the constellation of beta-tubulin polypeptides on two-dimensional gel western blots of a maize pollen total protein extract. No evidence for post-translational modification of the beta-tubulin polypeptides was found in pollen.