The complete nucleotide sequence of murine complement receptor type 2 (CR2) was determined from two overlapping cDNA clones derived from a lambda gt11 library of late pre-B cell origin. Comparison of the predicted sequence of the 1014 amino acid murine homolog with that of human CR2 revealed marked evolutionary conservation. The murine molecule was 65% identical to human CR2 overall, lacking a single repetitive sequence variably present in man. The 15 approximately 60-75 amino acid short consensus repeats (SCR) that constitute the entire extracellular domain of murine CR2 were 53 to 81% identical to and could be directly aligned with the human protein. As reported, the cytoplasmic tail shared 79% amino acid identity with human CR2, whereas that of the transmembrane was only 33%. Murine CR2 contained 16 potential N-linked glycosylation sites of which 6 were conserved, 4 altered, and 6 lost during human evolution. The hydropathicity profile of the two molecules was nearly colinear with some variation in the N-terminal region of the first repeat, as well as within the sixth and twelfth repeats. RNA blot analysis revealed a approximately 4.0 to 5.0 kb message in murine B lymphocytes, which was absent in T lymphocytes (thymus and spleen), liver, brain, lung, kidney, and heart. A method was devised to more precisely compare the repeat structures. An identity matrix analysis suggests that human ancestral CR2 evolved before divergence of the rodent and primate branches of the evolutionary tree through a series of predictable gene duplications, possibly giving rise to the precursor of human CR1 and murine CRY. The marked structural similarity between the human and murine receptors suggests functional conservation as well.