Although the number of papers about "vanadium" has doubled in the last decade, the studies about "vanadium and actin" are scarce. In the present review, the effects of vanadyl, vanadate and decavanadate on actin structure and function are compared. Decavanadate (51)V NMR signals, at -516 ppm, broadened and decreased in intensity upon actin titration, whereas no effects were observed for vanadate monomers, at -560 ppm. Decavanadate is the only species inducing actin cysteine oxidation and vanadyl formation, both processes being prevented by the natural ligand of the protein, ATP. Vanadyl titration with monomeric actin (G-actin), analysed by EPR spectroscopy, reveals a 1:1 binding stoichiometry and a K(d) of 7.5 μM(-1). Both decavanadate and vanadyl inhibited G-actin polymerization into actin filaments (F-actin), with a IC(50) of 68 and 300 μM, respectively, as analysed by light scattering assays, whereas no effects were detected for vanadate up to 2 mM. However, only vanadyl (up to 200 μM) induces 100% of G-actin intrinsic fluorescence quenching, whereas decavanadate shows an opposite effect, which suggests the presence of vanadyl high affinity actin binding sites. Decavanadate increases (2.6-fold) the actin hydrophobic surface, evaluated using the ANSA probe, whereas vanadyl decreases it (15%). Both vanadium species increased the ε-ATP exchange rate (k = 6.5 × 10(-3) s(-1) and 4.47 × 10(-3) s(-1) for decavanadate and vanadyl, respectively). Finally, (1)H NMR spectra of G-actin treated with 0.1 mM decavanadate clearly indicate that major alterations occur in protein structure, which are much less visible in the presence of ATP, confirming the preventive effect of the nucleotide on the decavanadate interaction with the protein. Putting it all together, it is suggested that actin, which is involved in many cellular processes, might be a potential target not only for decavanadate but above all for vanadyl. By affecting actin structure and function, vanadium can regulate many cellular processes of great physiological significance.