The human C3b/C4b receptor (CR1) binds the major activation and opsonic fragments of the third (C3) and fourth (C4) components of complement. CR1 is a single chain integral membrane glycoprotein widely distributed on peripheral blood cells. Four codominantly inherited allelic variants with Mrs of 160,000, 190,000, 220,000 and 250,000 have been described. To address the structural basis for this unusual polymorphism, CR1 from donors expressing three of the four allelic variants was purified from surface labeled (125I) erythrocytes by iC3-Sepharose affinity chromatography and the variants compared by tryptic peptide mapping (TPM). The TPMs of each variant contained the same major peaks and minor peak areas and were nearly identical to one another. Tryptic peptide mappings of the 190,000 Mr erythrocyte CR1, which was purified prior to iodination, were similar to those derived from surface iodinated CR1. The TPMs of erythrocyte and granulocyte CR1 from the same donor differed by a single peak of increased prominence in the granulocyte map. These results indicate a conservation in amino acid sequence for those peptides detected. In view of these data and those of other studies of the structure and genetics of CR1 and related proteins, it is suggested in this paper that the allelic variation relates to CR1, being composed of repeating amino acid sequences.