The homodimer neurohormone precursor P1, consisting of 41 residue subunits or A-chains, is synthesized by the glandular neurosecretory cells of the corpora cardiaca (CC) of the locust Schistocerca gregaria. Processing of P1 generates two copies of a 10 amino acid peptide neurohormone (AKH I) and one copy of a homodimer peptide (APRP 1). Here we show that the P1 dimer is formed from two independent A-chain translation products. Translation of CC mRNA in vitro produces a prominent 6.4 kd protein, the synthesis of which can be blocked by oligonucleotides hybridizing to mRNA encoding the A-chain. Northern blot experiments suggest that the 6.4 kd protein is produced by an integral of 500 base mRNA. cDNA cloning reveals a pre-A-chain structure in which a single copy of the A-chain is preceded by a 22 amino acid signal peptide. This evidence indicates that the P1 dimer is synthesized by coupling of very small translational products rather than by folding and processing of a larger protein containing more than one copy of the A-chain.