The major gap junction polypeptide in most tissues has an apparent molecular mass of 27 kDa with a 47 kDa dimer present in junctionenriched fractions. However, a 54 kDa protein recognized by gap junction-specific antibodies has been reported and a complementary DNA (cDNA) sequence for both human and rat liver gap junctions codes for a 32 kDa protein. In this paper we show that these are all forms of the same gap junction protein that can be observed on SDS-polyacrylamide gels simply by varying the concentration of acrylamide in the gels. A 64 kDa dimer is also obtainable. Antibodies to the gap junction protein or to a synthetic peptide constructed to match the rat liver gap junction amino-terminal sequence recognize all of these forms. Under some conditions a 54 kDa dimer is `preferred', explaining the presence of this species in whole tissue homogenate Western blots. These results clarify several controversies and indicate that the protein forming the gap junction channel probably undergoes no major post-translational modification as the cDNA sequence codes for a protein of molecular mass 32 kDa and this protein species and its 64 kDa dimer are demonstrable on SDS-polyacrylamide gels under appropriate conditions.