A rabbit anti-serum to tree shrew apolipoprotein C-I (apo C-I) was used to screen an expression cDNA library constructed by us from tree shrew (TS) liver tissue. Two apo C-I cDNA clones were obtained. The longer one consists of 380 nucleotides, including 21 bp and 95 bp at the 5' and 3' end of the non-translated regions respectively, and a 264-bp fragment in an open reading frame encoding 88 amino acids prepropeptide which contains 26 amino acids of signal peptide and a mature protein (62 amino acids). Comparing the amino-acid sequence deduced from this cDNA with those of the published mammalian apo C-Is reveals that it shared some structural similarity with rat, mouse and dog apo C-I, but it had 5 more amino acids than that of human and baboon. The expression of apo C-I mRNA in 8 different tissues were also assayed with Northern blot. The results demonstrated that liver had the highest expression, intestine had much less expression and no expression in other tissues, which is much different from human and other species. This study has laid down a good foundation for further studying on the function and the stucture of tree shrew apo C-I gene.