When microinjected into normal fibroblasts, cytoplasmic extracts of cells transformed by Rous sarcoma virus caused dissolution of microfilament bundles. This activity was not found in extracts of normal cells. The maximum effect was seen within 30 min of injection, and the activity could still be measured after a 10-fold dilution of the cytoplasmic extracts (14 mg/ml original protein concentration). The activity was trypsin sensitive and was destroyed by boiling, but was not RNase sensitive. Protein synthesis was not required for the disruption of actin-containing stress fibers by the injected activity. Microinjected cytoplasts prepared from normal 3T3 cells also showed dissolution of microfilament bundles, indicating that the cell nucleus was not required for expression of activity. Extracts made from fibroblasts transformed by Rous sarcoma virus having a temperature-sensitive mutation in the src gene were also temperature sensitive in the microinjection assay. Thus, the activity of extracts from cells infected with src mutant virus, but not from cells infected with wild-type virus, was destroyed either by in vitro incubation of the extract at the nonpermissive temperature before injection or by incubation of recipient cells at the nonpermissive temperature after injection. We conclude that the microinjection assay can detect a cytoplasmic activity coded for by the src gene of Rous sarcoma virus and that an early direct or indirect target of the src gene product is the cytoskeleton and cell motility system. This result is discussed in relation to the hypothesis that submembranous arrays of microfilaments, microtubules, and their associated proteins interact with cell surface receptors to form a surface modulating assembly that functions as a key regulator of cell growth.