Mutations in the APC gene are linked to the development of sporadic colorectal tumors as well as to familial adenomatous polyposis. Recently, the APC protein was reported to associated with catenins, proteins that bind to the cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin. In the present study, we examined the distribution and localization of the APC protein and alpha -catenin in the normal mouse intestine by light and immunoelectron microscopy using specific antibodies. The APC protein was found to be localized in microvilli and in the apical and lateral cytoplasm of the epithelial cells, whereas alpha-catenin was detected only in the lateral cytoplasm. Double-labeling immunoelectron microscopy showed colocalization of the APC protein with alpha-catenin in the lateral cytoplasm, especially along the lateral plasma membrane, although a certain portion of the APC protein in this region was distributed independently of alpha-catenin. These results suggest that a portion of the APC protein localized in the lateral cytoplasm of intestinal epithelial cells functions in cooperation with catenins, whereas the APC protein in microvilli and in the apical cytoplasm has other functions independent of catenins.