We previously reported that the mouse macrophage galacose and N-acetylgalactosamine-specific lectin (MMGL) may participate in the binding of the macrophages to tumor cells [Oda, S., Sato, M., Toyoshima, S., & Osawa, T. (1989) J. Biochem. 105, 1040-1043]. We now report the cloning and characterization of a cDNA encoding MMGL. The MMGL gene encoded a protein consisting of 304 amino acid residues with a molecular weight of 34,595. The deduced amino acid sequence indicated that MMGL had a single membrane-spanning region, three leucine zipper-like domains, and a carbohydrate recognition domain. Two N-glycosylation sites were found in the extracellular region of MMGL, corresponding to the heavy N-glycosylation in the native MMGL. Comparison of the amino acid sequence of MMGL with those of rat hepatic lectins revealed a high overall sequence homology. The sequence homology was especially high in the putative membrane-spanning region and carbohydrate recognition domain. There was, however, a region of 25 amino acids which did not exist on hepatic lectins. The MMGL cDNA without the region encoding the putative membrane-spanning region and intracellular region was expressed in Escherichia coli. The expressed protein had galactose-binding activity and its sugar-binding specificity was same as that of the native lectin.