Podocalyxin is a membrane protein of rat podocytes and endothelial cells. It has not been described in other cell types, and no amino acid or DNA sequence data are available about it. Here we show that podocalyxin antigens are present in rat platelets and megakaryocytes. In resting platelets, the antigens are mainly intracellular but become surface exposed after thrombin stimulation, as shown by immunofluorescence and flow cytometry. By Western blotting, platelet podocalyxin has an apparent Mr of 140,000. Cytocentrifuge slides of rat bone marrow show that anti-podocalyxin antibodies recognize large polyploid cells also expressing CD62P, indicating that the cells are megakaryocytes. From a rat glomerular cDNA library we isolated a clone covering the carboxyl-terminal nucleotides of rat podocalyxin. Its putative transmembrane or intracellular domains are 100% or >93% identical, respectively, with the human and rabbit podocalyxin-like proteins. The truncated extracellular domain extends to include two of the four conserved cysteines shared by podocalyxin-like proteins. By Northern blotting, a 5.5-kb renal cortical transcript is seen. By in situ hybridization, cRNA probes recognize podocytes, endothelial cells, and megakaryocytes, and by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, platelets are shown to contain podocalyxin mRNA. Our results show that rat podocalyxin is a homologue of the previously cloned podocalyxin-like proteins and suggest that also in mammals podocalyxin has a role in hematopoiesis, as previously shown in the chicken.