We have characterized a human homologue of anillin, a Drosophila actin binding protein. Like Drosophila anillin, the human protein localizes to the nucleus during interphase, the cortex following nuclear envelope breakdown, and the cleavage furrow during cytokinesis. Anillin also localizes to ectopic cleavage furrows generated between two spindles in fused PtK(1) cells. Microinjection of antianillin antibodies slows cleavage, leading to furrow regression and the generation of multinucleate cells. GFP fusions that contain the COOH-terminal 197 amino acids of anillin, which includes a pleckstrin homology (PH) domain, form ectopic cortical foci during interphase. The septin Hcdc10 localizes to these ectopic foci, whereas myosin II and actin do not, suggesting that anillin interacts with the septins at the cortex. Robust cleavage furrow localization requires both this COOH-terminal domain and additional NH(2)-terminal sequences corresponding to an actin binding domain defined by in vitro cosedimentation assays. Endogenous anillin and Hcdc10 colocalize to punctate foci associated with actin cables throughout mitosis and the accumulation of both proteins at the cell equator requires filamentous actin. These results indicate that anillin is a conserved cleavage furrow component important for cytokinesis. Interactions with at least two other furrow proteins, actin and the septins, likely contribute to anillin function.