Mouse testis contains two size classes of actin mRNAs of 2.1 and 1.5 kilobases (kb). The 2.1-kb actin mRNA codes for cytoplasmic beta- and gamma-actin and is found throughout spermatogenesis, while the 1.5-kb actin mRNA is first detected in postmeiotic cells. Here we identify the testicular postmeiotic actin encoded by the 1.5-kb mRNA as a smooth-muscle gamma-actin (SMGA) and present its cDNA sequence. The amino acid sequence deduced from the postmeiotic actin cDNA sequence was nearly identical to that of a chicken gizzard SMGA, with one amino acid replacement at amino acid 359, where glutamine was substituted for proline. The nucleotide sequence of the untranslated region of the SMGA differed substantially from those of other isotypes of mammalian actins. By using the 3' untranslated region of the testicular SMGA, a highly specific probe was obtained. The 1.5-kb mRNA was detected in RNA from mouse aorta, small intestine, and uterus, but not in RNA isolated from mouse brain, heart, and spleen. Testicular SMGA mRNA was first detected and increased substantially in amount during spermiogenesis in the germ cells, in contrast to the decrease of the cytoplasmic beta- and gamma-actin mRNAs towards the end of spermatogenesis. Testicular SMGA mRNA was present in the polysome fractions, indicating that it was translated. These studies demonstrate the existence of an SMGA in male haploid germ cells. The implications of the existence of an SMGA in male germ cells are discussed.