Amino acid sequences of four peptide fragments of human hepatocyte growth factor purified from the plasma of patients with fulminant hepatic failure were determined. Based on the amino acid sequence of one of the fragments, two oligodeoxyribonucleotide mixtures were synthesized and used to screen a human placenta cDNA library. On the screening, two overlapping cDNA clones for human hepatocyte growth factor were isolated and the nucleotide sequence of the cDNA was determined. The entire primary structure of the protein was deduced from the sequence. The protein consists of 728 amino acid residues, including a possible signal peptide at the N-terminus. The sequence revealed that the heavy and light chains which comprise the protein are encoded by the same mRNA and are produced from a common translation product by proteolytic processing.