We have isolated and characterized cDNA clones encoding rat liver cytosol 10-formyltetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase (EC 220.127.116.11). An open reading frame of 2706 base pairs encodes for 902 amino acids of Mr 99,015. The deduced amino acid sequence contains exact matches to the NH2-terminal sequence (28 residues) and the sequences of five peptides derived from cyanogen bromide cleavage of the purified protein. The amino acid sequence of 10-formyltetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase has three putative domains. The NH2-terminal sequence (residues 1-203) is 24-30% identical to phosphoribosylglycinamide formyltransferase (EC 18.104.22.168) from Bacillus subtilis (30%), Escherichia coli (24%), Drosophila melanogaster (24%), and human hepatoma HepG2 (27%). Residues 204-416 show no extensive homology to any known protein sequence. Sequence 417-900 is 46% (mean) identical to the sequences of a series of aldehyde dehydrogenase (NADP+) (EC 22.214.171.124). Intact 10-formyltetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase exhibits NADP-dependent aldehyde dehydrogenase activity. The sequence identity to phosphoribosylglycinamide formyltransferase is discussed, and a binding region for 10-formyltetrahydrofolate is proposed.