A 3.3-kilobase DNA complementary to human microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2) was sequenced by the dideoxy method. The 3' end terminates at an internal EcoRI site before the polyA tail. Due to the arrangement of the cDNA insert in the lambda gt11 vector, the MAP2 fragment is not fused to beta-galactosidase when expressed. The Chou Fasman algorithm for the initial 58 amino acids from the first in-frame methionine predicts an alpha helix. Beyond this point, a series of turns is predicted until amino acid 160. The frequent presence of basic residues in proximity to serines or threonines is consistent with multiple phosphorylation sites. The minimum specificity determinant for Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase is repeated 13 times. The sequence of a region containing a MAP2 epitope that is shared with the Alzheimer neurofibrillary tangle was determined by DNase treatment of the cDNA and antibody selecting the small resultant clones in a lambda gt11 sublibrary. Likewise, a MAP2 epitope that is not shared with the neurofibrillary tangle also has been located. Both epitopes are in the projection portion of the molecule. A bovine MAP2 cyanogen bromide fragment, which contains the epitope shared with the neurofibrillary tangle, is partially insoluble under aqueous conditions, probably due to the aggregation of oppositely charged residues. Thus, rapid cleavage of MAP2 to small peptides is probably necessary in vivo to prevent the aggregation of larger cleavage fragments.