Eosinophils are important effector cells in defense against helminth infection and in allergic diseases. To identify novel eosinophil proteins, large scale sequencing of a cDNA library prepared from interleukin-5-stimulated umbilical cord precursor cells was performed, and the major genes expressed by maturing eosinophils were determined. This resulted in the identification of a cDNA with 64% identity to human prepro-major basic protein (hprepro-MBP). This cDNA was designated hprepro-MBP homolog (hprepro-MBPH). Interestingly, the calculated pI values for hMBPH and hMBP differed by >100-fold, with pI values of 8.7 and 11.4, respectively. Given this pronounced basicity difference, the homolog transcript's abundance (1.1%), and MBP's critical role in eosinophil biological activity, we further characterized the homolog. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction detected transcription of hprepro-MBPH in bone marrow only, and this result was confirmed by analysis of a large cDNA data base (electronic Northern). hMBPH was isolated from human eosinophil granule lysates, and its identity was verified by amino acid sequencing and by mass spectrometry. Analyses of the biological activities showed that hMBPH had effects similar to hMBP in cell killing and neutrophil (superoxide anion production and interleukin-8 release) and basophil (histamine and leukotriene C4 release) stimulation assays, but usually with reduced potency. Overall, this novel homolog's unique physical properties indicated that the high net positive charge of hMBP is important but not essential for biological activity.