CENP-A, a centromere-specific 17-kDa protein, has histone-like properties. However, in contrast to the common somatic histones, CENP-A is quantitatively retained in bull spermatozoa, and we have exploited this fact to purify CENP-A to apparent homogeneity. Partial sequence analysis of the purified protein indicates that CENP-A is a distinctive gene product. Some CENP-A sequences are highly similar to regions of histone H3. Other segments of CENP-A are not related to H3 or any other histone. These unrelated segments are presumably involved in localizing CENP-A to centromeric DNA or in centromere-specific functions of CENP-A.