Three X-linked mutations of Drosophila melanogaster, gs(1)N26, gs(1)N441 and paralog, had a common maternal-effect phenotype. Mutant embryos show reduced egg contraction that normally occurs at an early cleavage stage in wild-type embryos. In addition, the mutants exhibited retarded nuclear migration while synchronous nuclear divisions were unaffected. The retarded migration causes nuclei to remain in the anterior part of the embryo retaining their spherical distribution even in a late cleavage stage. This consequently results in an extreme delay in nuclear arrival in the posterior periplasm. A mutant phenocopy was induced in wild-type embryos that were treated with cytochalasin B or D at a very early cleavage stage. Remarkable differences were noticed in the organization of cortical F-actin between the mutants and the wild type throughout the cleavage stage: obvious F-actin aggregates were dispersed in the cortex of mutant embryos, in contrast to the wild type where the cortical F-actin layer was smooth and underlying F-actin aggregates were smaller than those in the mutants; the transition of the distribution pattern of F-actin in the yolk mass, from the centralized to the fragmented type, occurred later in the mutants than in wild type. The results suggest that these mutations affect the mechanism underlying establishment and transition of F-actin organization required for normal egg contraction and nuclear migration in the cleavage embryos.