The complete coding sequence, upstream sequence and developmental expression of Dictyostelium discoideum AX2 spore coat protein gene SP60 is reported. The gene contains two exons, 154bp and 1121bp long, separated by a 119bp intron, and encodes a protein of 46,925 molecular weight plus a 23-amino-acid hydrophobic leader sequence. The N-terminus of the mature protein consists of four copies of a perfect hexapeptide repeat (GDWNNN). The central region is rich in cysteine residues, including four highly conserved cysteine-rich repeats with homology to 'EGF-like' repeats. The C-terminus is aspartate-rich and composed of multiple imperfect copies of a D(G/D)DYD repeat followed by several repeats of the tetrapeptide DNDW and derived sequences. A TATA box promoter motif juxtaposed to an oligo(dA) stretch lies 52bp upstream of the main transcriptional start site of the gene. Six AC-rich boxes occur in the region -327 to -556, all of which contain the consensus sequence CACAC. Two GC-rich boxes and a C-rich element (TTACCCCA) are also present upstream. Another open reading frame is positioned a short distance downstream of the SP60 gene in the opposite transcriptional orientation. Expression of the SP60 gene ceases upon disaggregation to single cells and cannot be restored by high levels of extracellular cAMP either alone or in combination with conditioned medium factors.