A series of Southern blot hybridization experiments using probes derived from different regions of the rat liver cell-cell adhesion molecule 105 (C-CAM) cDNA revealed the presence of a 9.6 kb EcoRI genomic fragment that seemed to encode a unique C-CAM isoform. An RNase protection study showed that this c-CAM transcript was expressed in placenta, spleen, lung and large intestine. In contrast, the other C-CAM isoforms, C-CAM1 and C-CAM2, are expressed in liver and small intestine. This result also suggests that the new isoform, which we named C-CAM4, was indeed encoded by a new C-CAM gene. A rat placenta cDNA library was then screened and the full-length cDNA coding for C-CAM4 was isolated. The deduced protein contained 142 amino acids and had a calculated molecular mass of 15 kDa. C-CAM4 was composed of a leader sequence and the first V-like Ig domain typical of C-CAM-family proteins. However, C-CAM4 lacked the C-like Ig domains, the transmembrane domain, and the cytoplasmic domain found in other C-CAM isoforms. Thus, C-CAM4 is different from the other known C-CAMs in that it is a secreted protein. We have previously shown that the first Ig domain of C-CAM1 is crucial for its adhesion function. The V-like Ig domain of C-CAM4 had 92% and 89% sequence identity with the corresponding regions of C-CAM1 and C-cam2 respectively. Together these results suggest that C-CAM4 may play a role in regulating the function of other C-CAM family proteins.