Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) is a new technique that allows the determination of the diffusion constant of a fluorescent molecule in solution. Also, the binding of the fluorescent molecule to a target can be analyzed, if the difference in the diffusion coefficients of the free and bound Ligand is sufficiently large. With FCS, the interaction between fluorescein-colchicine (FC) and tubulin has been studied in vitro. A fast and reversible binding is observed with an association constant at room temperature of (3.9 +/- 0.1) x 10(4) M-1. No competition with colchicine is seen, indicating that FCS reveals the existence of a new binding site on tubulin. FCS is not able to show the binding of FC to the original colchicine binding site, even though it exists, because the fluorescence of FC is strongly quenched upon binding to this site. This quenching is evident in spectrofluorometry experiments, revealing a slow binding of FC to tubulin that is subject to competition with colchicine. FCS allows the determination of the diffusion coefficients of both fi ee and bound fluorescent colchicine which were found to be (2.6 +/- 0.2) x 10(-10) and (2.0 +/- 0.2) x 10(-11) m(2) s(-1), respectively. It can be concluded that fluorescent labeling, especially of small molecules, can interfere considerably with the binding behavior that is being studied. Although general qualitative effects in vivo are similar for colchicine and its fluorescein derivative, this quantitative study of the binding to tubulin presents a nuanced view, and the existence of a second binding site for FC can even explain some conflicting indications in the Literature.