The murine A33 antigen is emerging as a definitive marker of intestinal epithelial cells. Cloning and sequence determination of cDNAs encoding mA33 antigen predict a novel type 1 transmembrane protein of 298 amino acids, comprising an extracellular domain with two immunoglobulin-like domains, a single-span transmembrane domain, and a highly acidic cytoplasmic domain. On the basis of conservation of amino acid sequence and genomic structure, the mA33 antigen is a member of a growing subfamily within the immunoglobulin superfamily, which includes transmembrane proteins CTX/ChT1, CTM/CTH, and CAR. During embryonic development, mA33 antigen expression is first observed in the inner cell mass of blastocysts before implantation. Intestinal expression of mA33 antigen is initiated in the hindgut at E14.5 and increases steadily throughout late embryonic and postnatal life into adulthood. The protein is specifically expressed on the basolateral surfaces of intestinal epithelial cells of all lineages, independent of their position along the rostrocaudal and crypt-villus axes. Thus the mA33 antigen appears to be a novel marker for both proliferating and differentiating intestinal epithelial cells.