lambda gt11 clones encoding human prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) (EC 126.96.36.199) were isolated from human prostatic cDNA libraries by immunoscreening with polyclonal antisera. Sequence data obtained from several overlapping clones indicated that the composite cDNAs contained the complete coding region for PAP, which encodes a 354-residue protein with a calculated molecular mass of 41,126 Da. In the 5'-end, the cDNA codes for a signal peptide of 32 amino acids. Direct protein sequencing of the amino-terminus of the mature protein and its proteolytic fragments confirmed the identity of the predicted protein sequence. PAP has no apparent sequence homology to other known proteins. However, both the cDNA clones coding for human placental alkaline phosphatase and PAP have an alu-type repetitive sequence about 900 nucleotides downstream from the coding region in the 3'-untranslated region. Two of our cDNA clones differed from others at the 5'-ends. RNA blot analysis indicated mRNA of 3.3 kb. We are continuing to study whether acid phosphatases form a gene family as do alkaline phosphatases.