A novel member of the human CMP-NeuAc:beta-galactoside alpha2, 3-sialyltransferase (ST) subfamily, designated ST3Gal VI, was identified based on BLAST analysis of expressed sequence tags, and a cDNA clone was isolated from a human melanoma line library. The sequence of ST3Gal VI encoded a type II membrane protein with 2 amino acids of cytoplasmic domain, 32 amino acids of transmembrane region, and a large catalytic domain with 297 amino acids; and showed homology to previously cloned ST3Gal III, ST3Gal IV, and ST3Gal V at 34, 38, and 33%, respectively. Extracts from L cells transfected with ST3Gal VI cDNA in a expression vector and a fusion protein with protein A showed an enzyme activity of alpha2, 3-sialyltransferase toward Galbeta1,4GlcNAc structure on glycoproteins and glycolipids. In contrast to ST3Gal III and ST3Gal IV, this enzyme exhibited restricted substrate specificity, i.e. it utilized Galbeta1,4GlcNAc on glycoproteins, and neolactotetraosylceramide and neolactohexaosylceramide, but not lactotetraosylceramide, lactosylceramide, or asialo-GM1. Consequently, these data indicated that this enzyme is involved in the synthesis of sialyl-paragloboside, a precursor of sialyl-Lewis X determinant.