A Trypanosoma cruzi genomic expression library was screened with a pool of sera obtained from chronic chagasic patients. The recombinant antigen (Tc40) isolated from this library reacted with a large number of serum samples of chronic chagasic patients, suggesting that the presence of anti-Tc40 antibodies may be specifically associated to Chagas' disease. The full-length sequence of the Tc40 gene was determined after isolation of genomic and cDNA clones. The Tc40 cDNA includes a large open reading frame (2745 bp-long) that encodes a polypeptide of 100 kDa without any homology with previously described T. cruzi sequences. In contrast with other T. cruzi antigens whose immunodominant B-cell epitopes are composed by amino acid repetitive motifs, Tc40 does not show any amino acid repetition. Antibodies against the Tc40 recombinant protein reacted with three native polypeptides of 100, 41 and 38 kDa which are tightly associated with membranes or cytoskeleton and expressed in all developmental stages of the parasite life cycle. A transcript of 3.9-kb was detected in Northern blot analysis which is large enough to encode a 100 kDa polypeptide. Tc40 genes were mapped on a chromosomal band of 1.1 Mbp and in a few copies per haploid genome in the G strain.