An angiogenin binding protein isolated previously from endothelial cells has been shown to be a member of the actin family. Calf pulmonary artery endothelial (CPAE) cells were investigated for the presence of surface actin by immunoblotting of isolated surface proteins and by immunofluorescence. CPAE cell surface proteins were isolated by selective apical biotinylation and recovery of biotinylated proteins by avidin affinity chromatography. Immunoblotting with a specific smooth muscle alpha-actin antibody detected the presence of this type of actin among the isolated cell surface proteins. Immunofluorescence confirmed that smooth muscle alpha-actin is localized at the surface of nonpermeabilized CPAE cells. Exposure of CPAE cells to angiogenin prior to cell surface immunostaining diminished the signal. When CPAE and rat aortic smooth muscle cells were made permeable before staining, stress fibers could be recognized by the antibody in smooth muscle cells but not CPAE cells. The results indicate that a smooth muscle type of alpha-actin is localized specifically on the surface of cultured CPAE cells where it might interact with angiogenin and other actin binding proteins present in the extracellular environment.