Monoclonal antibody RB13-6 recognizes a subset of rat brain glial precursor cells that are highly susceptible to malignant conversion by the carcinogen N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea. The corresponding cell surface antigen was identified as a membrane glycoprotein (gp130RB13-6) and purified by immunoaffinity chromatography from the tumorigenic neuroectodermal rat cell line BT4Ca. Sequencing of 5 endoproteinase-generated peptides of the purified antigen permitted the specific amplification of a cDNA fragment by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and subsequent isolation of the complete coding sequence from a fetal rat brain cDNA library. The derived amino acid sequence indicates that the RB13-6 antigen is related to the human and murine plasma cell membrane protein PC-1, a nucleotide pyrophosphatase/alkaline phosphodiesterase and ectoprotein kinase. Similarly, purified gp130RB13-6 possesses 5'-nucleotidase activity that can be inhibited with EDTA. Different from PC-1, gp130RB13-6 isolated from BT4Ca cells is not a disulfide-linked dimer and contains an RGD-tripeptide sequence which, together with other structural features, suggests a possible function in cell adhesion and its subversion in malignant phenotypes.