Ca2+-dependent cell--cell adhesion molecules, termed cadherins, are classified into subclasses with different tissue distributions and distinct cell--cell binding specificities. We report the cloning of cDNA encoding a cadherin present in the placenta which is called P-cadherin. The deduced sequence encodes a polypeptide of 822 amino acids with the characteristic features of integral membrane proteins. A computer search of the amino acid sequence homology of P-cadherin against itself showed that this molecule contains internal repeats in the extracellular domain. Comparison of the primary structure of P-cadherin with that of the epithelial cadherin (E-cadherin) showed that there is 58% homology in their amino acid sequences. These results provide evidence for our hypothesis that cadherins constitute a gene family.