Munc18-1 was originally described as an essential docking factor in chromaffin cells. Recent findings showed that Munc18-1 has an additional role in the regulation of the cortical F-actin network, which is thought to function as a physical barrier preventing secretory vesicles from access to their release sites under resting conditions. In our review, we discuss whether this function is evolutionarily conserved in all Sec1/ Munc18-like (SM) proteins. In addition, we introduce a new quantification method that improves the analysis of cortical filamentous actin (F-actin) in comparison with existing methods. Since the docking process is highly evolutionarily conserved in the SM protein superfamily, we use our novel quantification method to investigate whether the F-actin-regulating function is similarly conserved among SM proteins. Our preliminary data suggest that the regulation of cortical F-actin is a shared function of SM proteins, and we propose a way to gain more insight in the molecular mechanism underlying the Munc18-1-mediated cortical F-actin regulation. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012.