A cDNA encoding the chicken homologue of the human myelomonocytic differentiation antigen, CD14, was cloned by RT-PCR from chicken bone marrow cell RNA, using oligonucleotide primers based on the predicted cDNA sequence. The cloned chicken CD14 (chCD14) cDNA encodes an open reading frame of 465 amino acids (aa), with 31-34% aa identity to mouse, bovine and human (hu) CD14. As in mouse and man, chCD14 is a leucine-rich protein. In mammals, CD14 is a GPI-anchored protein. Protein structure analysis suggested that chCD14, by contrast, was potentially a trans-membrane protein. The predicted aa sequence comprises an extracellular domain of 417 aa, followed by a 23-aa trans-membrane segment, and a 25-aa intracytoplasmic region, the latter containing no obvious signalling motifs. COS-7 cells were transfected with p3XFLAG-CMV-8::chCD14 or pCDM8::huCD14, incubated with or without PI-PLC and stained with anti-FLAG or anti-huCD14 antibody respectively. PI-PLC cleaved huCD14 but not chCD14, suggesting that chCD14 is not GPI-anchored. Real-time quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed that chCD14 mRNA was expressed in most lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues, except muscle. ChCD14 mRNA was also expressed in most cells examined but strongly expressed in chicken peripheral blood monocyte/macrophages and KUL01+ splenocytes.