We have examined the distribution of glutamylated tubulin in non-neuronal cell lines. A major part of centriole tubulin is highly modified on both the alpha- and beta-tubulin subunits, whereas a minor part of the cytoplasmic tubulin is slightly modified, on the beta-tubulin only. Furthermore, we observed that tubulin glutamylation varies during the cell cycle: an increase occurs during mitosis on both centriole and spindle microtubules. In the spindle, this increase appears more obvious on the pole-to-pole and kinetochore microtubules than on the astral microtubules. The cellular pattern and the temporal variation of this post-translational modification contrast with other previously described tubulin modifications. The functional significance of this distribution is discussed.