In order to study structure-function details of TGF-beta1, the recombinant mature form of rat TGF-beta1 was expressed in bacteria. Synthesis of the 112 amino-acid carboxyl-terminal part of TGF-beta1 (amino acid 279-390) was controlled by an inducible gene expression system based on bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase. This system allowed an active and selective synthesis of recombinant TGF-beta1. The molecular weight of expressed TGF-alpha1 monomer determined on SDS-polyacrylamide gel under reducing conditions was about 13 kD. Serial detergent washes combined with a single gel-filtration purification step were sufficient to purify the expression product to homogeneity. Amino-terminal sequencing revealed that the N-terminal of the recombinant protein was identical to the published data. In Western blot analysis the recombinant polypeptide showed excellent antigenicity against polyclonal TGF-beta1 antibody. The mature recombinant rat TGF-beta1 expressed in this study provides a useful tool for future detailed structural and functional studies.