Actin is a highly conserved microfilament protein that plays an important role in the invasion of host cells by the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. We have characterized the ACT1 gene and localized the conventional isoform of actin that it encodes within T. gondii. The predicted amino acid sequence of ACT1 was most similar to two other parasite actins, Plasmodium falciparum Pfact-1 (93.1% identical) and Cryptosporidium parvum actin (88.1%): among vertebrate actins, ACT1 was most closely related to the mammalian beta and gamma (83%) actin isoforms. Actin-specific antibodies and fluorescently labeled DNAse I were used to localize actin in T. gondii tachyzoites by immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy. Actin was detected beneath the parasite cell membrane and in clusters scattered within the cytosol of T. gondii tachyzoites. Actin filaments were not detected in detergent-solubilized parasites separated by high speed centrifugation, indicating that actin exists primarily in a globular form in T. gondii.