We used immunofluorescence microscopy to study the organization of actin, myosin and vinculin in confluent endothelial cells and in cells migrating into an experimental wound and interference reflection microscopy to assess the cell-substratum adhesion pattern in these cells. In confluent stationary endothelial cell monolayers actin showed a distinct cell-to-cell organization. Myosin, on the other hand, was diffusely distributed and was clearly absent from cell peripheries. Vinculin was confined as linear arrays to cell-cell contact areas. Interference reflection microscopy revealed areas of close and distant adhesion but no focal adhesion sites in these cultures. Twelve hours after experimental wounding a distinct zone of advancing cells was seen at the wound edge. These cells showed a spreadout morphology and, in contrast to stationary cells, had a stress fibre-type organization of both actin and myosin. Vinculin was in the migrating cells seen as plaques at the ventral cell surface. In interference reflection microscopy numerous focal adhesions were seen. The results indicate that the actomyosin system forms the structural basis for monolayer organization of endothelial cells and responds by reorganization upon cell migration.