Myosin is believed to act as the molecular motor for many actin-based motility processes in eukaryotes. It is becoming apparent that a single species may possess multiple myosin isoforms, and at least seven distinct classes of myosin have been identified from studies of animals, fungi, and protozoans. The complexity of the myosin heavy-chain gene family in higher plants was investigated by isolating and characterizing myosin genomic and cDNA clones from Arabidopsis thaliana. Six myosin-like genes were identified from three polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products (PCR1, PCR11, PCR43) and three cDNA clones (ATM2, MYA2, MYA3). Sequence comparisons of the deduced head domains suggest that these myosins are members of two major classes. Analysis of the overall structure of the ATM2 and MYA2 myosins shows that they are similar to the previously-identified ATM1 and MYA1 myosins, respectively. The MYA3 appears to possess a novel tail domain, with five IQ repeats, a six-member imperfect repeat, and a segment of unique sequence. Northern blot analyses indicate that some of the Arabidopsis myosin genes are preferentially expressed in different plant organs. Combined with previous studies, these results show that the Arabidopsis genome contains at least eight myosin-like genes representing two distinct classes.