A cDNA clone was isolated by screening of a lambda gt11 endothelial expression library with serum from a patient with myasthenia gravis (MG). Rabbit antisera raised against the recombinant protein and human MG sera reactive with the clone immunoblotted an M(r) integral of 250,000 polypeptide (gravin) present in endothelial cells and several adherent cells. Gravin was not detected in platelets, leukocytes, U937, or human erythroleukemic (HEL) cell lines, but was expressed in HEL cells after induction with phorbol myristate acetate. Northern blot analysis showed two transcripts of approximately 6.7 and 8.4 kb in endothelial cells but not U937 or HEL cells. Indirect immunofluorescence of permeabilized cells revealed a trabecular network of gravin staining with a distinct linear component. Antibodies to gravin, were present in sera from 22:72 (31%) of MG patients. In contrast 0:50 normal sera and 1:72 sera from patients with other autoimmune diseases contained antigravin antibodies. Gravin is not likely to be a nonerythroid spectrin, talin, myosin, or actin-binding protein based on the lack of reactivity of antigravin with these polypeptides in immunoblots. The nucleotide sequence of the immunoreactive clone indicated that it encodes a highly acidic polypeptide fragment that contains the carboxyl terminus of the protein. Neither amino acid nor nucleotide sequences were present in Genbank, EMBL, or Swissprot databases as of March, 1992. These data indicate that gravin is an inducible, cell type-specific cytoplasmic protein and that auto-antibodies to gravin may be highly specific for MG.