The temperature-sensitive mutant cells (tsFT101) derived from a mouse mammary carcinoma cell line, FM3A, become multinucleated at a non-permissive temperature of 39 degrees C. To further understand the molecular mechanism of such cytokinetic disturbance, we examined the expression of profilin, the main regulator of the transition of globular actin (G-actin) to filamentous actin (F-actin). RT-PCR analysis of mouse profilin cDNA from tsFT101 showed a point mutation (177 A two head right arrow G) which was a wobble mutation causing no change in the encoded amino acid. The expression level of profilin mRNA was, however, diminished in cultured tsFT101 cells under non-permissive temperatures compared with wild-type FM3A cells in association with multinucleation. A stable transfection of profilin cDNA expression vector to tsFT101 cells prevented multinuclear cell formation when cultured at 39 degrees C. In contrast, antisense profilin cDNA expression vector did not alter multinuclear cell formation. The primary cause of the cytokinetic disturbance of tsFT101 cells may be due to the diminished level of profilin gene expression.