We have established, by means of a monoclonal antibody and a cDNA clone, that a desmosomal polypeptide of Mr 83,000 also occurs at the plaques of other types of adhering junctions, including the vinculin-actin-associated intercellular junctions, e.g., the zonula adhaerens of epithelial cells and the endothelial, lens, and Sertoli cell junctions. This is the first component found in common among otherwise biochemically distinct plaque domains. Despite its concentration at these intercellular junctions, it is absent from the respective cell-substratum contact sites. In addition, it appears in a globular soluble 7S form in the cytoplasm. We discuss the significance of this protein, for which the name plakoglobin is proposed, in terms of its interaction with such biochemically diverse membrane domains and their different types of associated cytoskeletal filaments.