The distribution of glutamylated tubulin has been analyzed in mammalian testis using the specific mAb GT335 by immunoelectron microscopy and immunoblotting. In spermatozoa of various species, immunogold labeling showed the presence of glutamylated tubulin in all of the microtubules of axoneme and centrioles, whereas the microtubule network of the spermatid manchette was unlabeled. In earlier germ cells, centriole was the only microtubule structure to be labeled. A similar distribution was observed using the anti-acetylated tubulin antibody (6-11B-1), confirming previous results of Hermo et al. [Anat. Rec. 229:31-50, 1991]. However, among testicular somatic cells, microtubules of some Sertoli cell branches were not acetylated but glutamylated. 2-D PAGE of mouse and hamster sperm extracts showed a high level of alpha and beta-tubulin heterogeneity, comparable to that found in brain. Immunoblotting with GT335 revealed a large amount of glutamylated tubulin resolved into numerous alpha as well as beta-tubulin isoforms. This suggests that the major testis-specific tubulin isotypes (m alpha 3/7 and m beta 3) are also glutamylatable. These results show a subcellular sorting of posttranslationally modified tubulin isoforms in spermatids, glutamylation being associated with the most stable microtubule structures.