We have obtained the complete coding sequence of a highly conserved heparan sulfate proteoglycan which we previously characterized biochemically after isolation from rat brain. An open reading frame of 558 amino acids encodes a protein with a molecular mass of 62 kDa containing three peptide sequences present in the isolated proteoglycan. The total sequence obtained is 3.5 kb long, including 1.6 kb of 3'-untranslated sequence and 0.2 kb of 5'-untranslated sequence. The deduced amino acid sequence and the 3'- and 5'-untranslated sequences have 89% and 66-80% identity, respectively, with those of a phosphatidylinositol-anchored human lung fibroblast heparan sulfate proteoglycan (glypican) for which mRNA is detectable in a large number of human cell lines. Our data therefore demonstrate that this major heparan sulfate proteoglycan of brain is the rat form of glypican.