Azaspiracid-1 (AZA-1) is a marine toxin discovered 10 years ago. Since then, toxicologic studies have demonstrated that AZA-1 targets several organs in vivo, including the intestine, lymphoid tissues, lungs, and nervous system; however, the mechanism of action of AZA-1 remains unknown. Studies in vitro suggest that AZA-1 affects the actin cytoskeleton in nonadherent cells. We characterized the effects of AZA-1 on the cytoskeleton of adherent cells and on cell growth, an adhesion-dependent process in many cell types, and analyzed the structure dependency of this toxicity. Confocal and TIRF imaging of fluorescently labeled cytosketon showed that AZA-1 induced the rearrangement of stress fibers (actin filament bundles) and the loss of focal adhesion points in neuroblastoma and Caco-2 cells, without affecting the amount of polymerized actin. AZA-1 did not seem to alter the microtubule cytoskeleton, but it changed the cell shape and internal morphology observed by phase contrast imaging. Cell growth of lung carcinoma and neuroblastoma cells was inhibited by the toxin, as measured by a sulforhodamine B assay and BrdU incorporation to newly synthesized DNA. Fifteen different fragments and/or stereoisomers of AZA-1 were tested for cytoskeletal rearrangement and cell growth inhibition. Results showed that no fragment or stereoisomer had any activity, except for ABCD-epi-AZA-1, which conserved toxicity. AZA-1-induced reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton concurred with detachment and growth inhibition, three events that are probably related.