DNA fragments homologous to members of the family of P-type ion-motive ATPases were identified in Trypanosoma cruzi by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification. The sequence of one fragment, which closely resembled (87% identity) the tandemly linked proton pumps in Leishmania, was used to characterize the H(+)-ATPase genes in T. cruzi. The T. cruzi proton pump locus contains four tandemly repeated genes (TCH1-4) separated by 1.1 kb intergenic regions. The nucleotide sequence of one cloned gene of the tandem array contains a 2775 nt open reading frame encoding a predicted 101908-Da protein of 925 amino acids. The TCH genes are expressed as 3.8 and 4.9 kb polyadenylated transcripts in the epimastigote stage; expression of both transcripts is reduced in metacyclic trypomastigotes. Results of 5' and 3' RACE transcript mapping indicate that the 3.8 kb message is generated from within the tandemly repeated locus. The 3.8 kb TCH transcript has the T. cruzi mini-exon appended to a short (40 nt) 5' untranslated region (UTR) and has a 927 nt 3' UTR. The full peptide sequence of the T. cruzi proton pump is 80% identical to the Leishmania pump but lacks the extended carboxyl tail present in the Leishmania ATPase. An antibody that recognizes the 110-kDa Leishmania donovani proton pump cross-reacts with a 100-kDa protein in lysates of T. cruzi epimastigotes.