In macrophages, phagosome movement is microtubule-dependent. Microtubules are a prerequisite for phagosome maturation because they facilitate interactions between phagosomes and organelles of the endocytic pathway. We have established an in vitro assay that measures the binding of purified phagosomes to microtubules. This binding depends on the presence of membrane proteins, most likely integral to the surface of phagosomes, and on macrophage cytosol. The cytosolic binding factor can interact with microtubules prior to the addition of phagosomes to the assay, suggesting that it is a microtubule-associated protein (MAP). Consistent with this, depletion of MAPs from the cytosol by microtubule affinity removes all binding activity. Microtubule motor proteins show no binding activity, whereas a crude MAP preparation is sufficient to support binding and to restore full binding activity to MAP-depleted cytosol. We show that the activating MAP factor is a heat-sensitive protein(s) that migrates at around 150 kDa by gel filtration.