Cloned 15-lipoxygenase has been expressed for the first time in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. Transfection of osteosarcoma cells with a mammalian expression plasmid containing the cDNA for human reticulocyte 15-lipoxygenase resulted in cell lines that were capable of oxidizing body arachidonic acid and linoleic acid. The lipoxygenase metabolites were identified by reverse-phase and straight-phase high pressure liquid chromatography, ultraviolet spectroscopy, and direct mass spectrometry, verifying that the cDNA for 15-lipoxygenase encodes an enzyme with authentic 15-lipoxygenase activity. Incubation of the transformed cells with arachidonic acid generated 15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (HETE) and 12-HETE in a ratio of 8.6 to 1, demonstrating that 15-lipoxygenase can also perform 12-lipoxygenation. Lesser amounts of 15-keto-ETE, four isomers of 8,15-diHETE, and one isomer of 14,15-diHETE were observed. Incubation with linoleic acid generated predominantly 13-hydroxy linoleic acid. The reaction was inhibited by eicosatetraynoic acid but not by indomethacin. Antibodies to a peptide corresponding to a unique region of the predicted amino acid sequence were generated and shown to react with one major band of 70 kDa on immunoblots of human leukocyte 15-lipoxygenase. To obtain antibodies to the full length enzyme, the cDNA was subcloned into a bacterial expression vector and was expressed as a fusion with the CheY protein. The overexpressed protein was readily purified from bacteria and was shown to be immunoreactive to the peptide-derived antibody. Antibodies raised to this recombinant enzyme did not cross-react with human leukocyte 5-lipoxygenase but did identify 15-lipoxygenase in rabbit reticulocytes, human leukocytes, and tracheal epithelial cells, suggesting that the 15-lipoxygenases from these different cell types are structurally related.