The amino acid sequence deduced from cDNA of the human placental fibronectin receptor is reported. The receptor is composed of two subunits: an alpha subunit of 1,008 amino acids which is processed into two polypeptides disulfide bonded to one another, and a beta subunit of 778 amino acids. Each subunit has near its COOH terminus a hydrophobic segment. This and other sequence features suggest a structure for the receptor in which the hydrophobic segments serve as transmembrane domains anchoring each subunit to the membrane and dividing each into a large ectodomain and a short cytoplasmic domain. The alpha subunit ectodomain has five sequence elements homologous to consensus Ca2+-binding sites of several calcium-binding proteins, and the beta subunit contains a fourfold repeat strikingly rich in cysteine. The alpha subunit sequence is 46% homologous to the alpha subunit of the vitronectin receptor. The beta subunit is 44% homologous to the human platelet adhesion receptor subunit IIIa and 47% homologous to a leukocyte adhesion receptor beta subunit. The high degree of homology (85%) of the beta subunit with one of the polypeptides of a chicken adhesion receptor complex referred to as integrin complex strongly suggests that the latter polypeptide is the chicken homologue of the fibronectin receptor beta subunit. These receptor subunit homologies define a superfamily of adhesion receptors. The availability of the entire protein sequence for the fibronectin receptor will facilitate studies on the functions of these receptors.

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