Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchoring is a common post-translational modification of extracellular eukaryotic proteins. Attachment of the GPI moiety to the carboxyl terminus (omega-site) of the polypeptide occurs after proteolytic cleavage of a C-terminal propeptide. In this work, the sequence pattern for GPI-modification was analyzed in terms of physical amino acid properties based on a database analysis of annotated proprotein sequences. In addition to a refinement of previously described sequence signals, we report conserved sequence properties in the regions omega - 11...omega - 1 and omega + 4...omega + 5. We present statistical evidence for volume-compensating residue exchanges with respect to the positions omega - 1...omega + 2. Differences between protozoan and metazoan GPI-modification motifs consist mainly in variations of preferences to amino acid types at the positions near the omega-site and in the overall motif length. The variations of polypeptide substrates are exploited to suggest a model of the polypeptide binding site of the putative transamidase, the enzyme catalyzing the GPI-modification. The volume of the active site cleft accommodating the four residues omega - 1...omega + 2 appears to be approximately 540 A3.