The crystalline lens is an attractive system to study the biology of intercellular communication; however, the identity of the structural components of gap junctions in the lens has been controversial. We have cloned a novel member of the connexin family of gap junction proteins, Cx50, and have shown that it is likely to correspond to the previously described lens fiber protein MP70. The N-terminal amino acid sequence of MP70 closely matches the sequence predicted by the clone. Cx50 mRNA is detected only in the lens, among the 12 organs tested, and this distribution is indistinguishable from that of MP70 protein. A monoclonal antibody directed against MP70 and an anti-Cx50 antibody produced against a synthetic peptide identify the same proteins on western blots and produce identical patterns of immunofluorescence on frozen sections of rodent lens. We also show that expression of Cx50 in paired Xenopus oocytes induces high levels of voltage-dependent conductance. This indicates that Cx50 is a functional member of the connexin family with unique physiological properties. With the cloning of Cx50, all known participants in gap junction formation between various cell types in the lens are available for study and reconstitution in experimental systems.