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Lung-endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (Lu-ECAM-1) is an endothelial cell surface molecule that mediates adhesion of metastatic melanoma cells to lung endothelium. Here we analyze the organization of the Lu-ECAM-1 protein complex, report the sequence of Lu-ECAM-1 cDNAs, and reveal a novel function of the protein. Lu-ECAM-1 immunopurified from bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAEC) consists of tightly associated glycoproteins of 90, 38, and 32 kDa, with minor components of 130 and 120 kDa. We present evidence that all of these protein species are encoded by a single open reading frame whose initial translation product is proteolytically processed to yield the other products. Correct processing in vitro was demonstrated by transfection of the longest cDNA into human embryonic kidney 293 cells; immunoblot analysis showed that the approximately 120-kDa precursor gave rise to 90- and 38-kDa products. RNA blots of BAEC mRNA detected messages in agreement with the sizes of the cDNA clones in addition to several of high molecular weight. DNA blot analysis showed that Lu-ECAM-1 is conserved throughout its length in all mammals tested, usually as a single or low copy gene. In the bovine, Lu-ECAM-1 protein is 88% identical to a calcium-dependent chloride channel described recently in tracheal epithelium, Ca-CC. Probes for Lu-ECAM-1 mRNA and protein confirmed the presence of a homolog in this tissue. We show that messages for both proteins are present in lung while only Ca-CC is present in trachea and only Lu-ECAM-1 is present in BAEC. These results suggest that endothelial cells express a chloride channel that is related to, but distinct from, that expressed in tracheal epithelium. They further suggest that an adhesion molecule can also be a chloride channel.