Whereas actin-binding proteins (ABPs) regulate network formation during the cell cycle, it is not known whether ABPs also function to sequester or target isoactins to specific subcellular compartments. Recently, we have shown that ezrin indirectly associates with beta, but not alpha actin filaments in a calcium- and cytochalasin-sensitive manner [Shuster and Herman, 1995: J. Cell Biol. 128:837-848]. To identify the beta actin-specific binding protein that fosters ezrin-beta actin interactions, we developed an isoactin affinity fractionation and F-isoactin overlay/Western blotting technique. Results reveal that a 73 kd polypeptide that co-precipitates with ezrin and beta actin [Shuster and Herman, 1995: J. Cell Biol. 128:837-848] can also binds directly to filaments of beta, but not alpha actin by isoactin overlay. In an effort to establish whether p73 plays a role in regulating beta actin dynamics in cells, we produced monoclonal antibodies by immunizing BALB/c mice with p73-containing lamellar lysates or high salt elutions from beta actin affinity columns. Two monoclonal antibodies were cloned that react with p73 present in fractions released from beta actin Sepharose-4B or purified to homogeneity by DEAE chromatography. Anti-p73 Western blots reveal that there is a 16-fold difference in p73 binding to beta actin vs. alpha actin affinity columns when experiments are performed in physiological salts. To characterize p73-beta actin binding in vitro and establish whether p73 binds along the lengths or at the barbed end of the beta actin filament, we asked whether cytochalasin D (CD) could displace p73 pre-bound to beta actin-Sepharose 4B. Anti-p73 Western blotting reveals that nanomolar concentrations of CD are capable of selectively eluting p73 and ezrin from beta actin Sepharose 4B, indicating that p73 binds beta actin via the barbed end. Simultaneous double antibody localization studies using anti-beta actin IgG and anti-p73 IgM reveal that p73 and beta actin are co-localized in the forward aspects of motile cytoplasmic domains, in close proximity to the plasma membrane. Because of its isoform-specific interactions with the barbed end of beta actin filaments, we have named this molecule beta cap73. These results indicate that isoform-specific actin-binding proteins can be identified from cortical cytoplasm, and suggest that beta cap73 may not only act to spatially regulate the intracellular distribution of isoactins, but may also facilitate forward protrusion formation through the regulated release of free filament ends during cell motility.