The location of the structural gene for aggregation substance on the sex pheromone plasmid pAD1 of Enterococcus faecalis was determined using an oligonucleotide deduced from the N-terminal amino acid sequence of the purified protein. The nucleotide sequence was determined for the corresponding region and two open reading frames (ORFs) could be identified. ORF1 codes for a small (Mr 13,160) acidic protein of unknown function. The gene for aggregation substance (named asa1) was found to code for a protein of 1296 amino acids (Mr 142,248). The protein has a signal peptide of 43 amino acids (the resulting Mr for mature aggregation substance is 137,429) and contains in its C-terminal region a proline-rich sequence, previously characterized as being involved in cell wall association, which is followed by a membrane anchor. The membrane anchor showed significant similarity to that of other Gram-positive organisms, but no other similarities to surface proteins from Gram-positive bacteria were found. In particular, no repeats on the DNA or protein level could be detected for pAD1-specific aggregation substance. The protein contains the amino acid motifs Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser and Arg-Gly-Asp-Val (once each), which, it is proposed, play a crucial role in adherence to eukaryotic cells.