Inosine-5'-monophosphate dehydrogenase, a key enzyme in the regulation of guanine nucleotide biosynthesis, was purified to homogeneity; and a polyclonal antibody directed against the purified protein was used to isolate human and Chinese hamster IMP dehydrogenase cDNA clones. These clones were sequenced and found to contain an open reading frame of a protein containing 514 amino acids. A sequence of 35 amino acids obtained by analysis of the purified protein is identical to a segment of the protein sequence deduced from the IMP dehydrogenase cDNA. The molecular mass of the deduced protein is 56 kDa, which is the observed molecular mass of the purified protein and of the immunoprecipitated in vitro translation product. Comparison of the protein sequences deduced from the human and Chinese hamster cDNA clones indicates only eight amino acid differences, suggesting that IMP dehydrogenase is a highly conserved protein.