Peptide antibodies specific for tyrosinated (tyr-tubulin) or detyrosinated alpha-tubulin (glu-tubulin) have been generated for studying the relative stability of microtubules enriched in either form of alpha-tubulin. Treatment of Vero cells with nocodazole has revealed that interphase microtubules rich in glu-tubulin (glu-microtubules) are resistant to higher concentrations of the microtubule-disrupting drug than the microtubules containing only tyr-tubulin (tyr-microtubules). Glu-tubulin is enriched in centrioles and mid-bodies, but absent from the first interphase microtubules that have repolymerized in late telophase. Tubulin (including both forms) has been labeled with rhodamine (rh-tubulin) and microinjected into Vero cells to study in vivo the dynamic properties and incorporation rates of tubulin into microtubules rich in either glu- or tyr-tubulin. Tyr-microtubules are significantly more rapidly labeled by the microinjected rh-tubulin than glu-microtubules. Ten minutes after injection, rh-tubulin is present in virtually all tyr-microtubules. The half-time of turnover of glu-microtubules is approximately 1 h. Even several hours after microinjection, some of the glu-microtubules have consistently not incorporated visible amounts of rh-tubulin. These results suggest that tyr- and glu-microtubules respectively represent relatively dynamic and stable subclasses of interphase microtubules.