The amino-terminal amino acid sequence and several internal peptide sequences of angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE; peptidyl-dipeptidase A, kininase II; EC 18.104.22.168) purified from human kidney were used to design oligonucleotide probes. The nucleotide sequence of ACE mRNA was determined by molecular cloning of the DNA complementary to the human vascular endothelial cell ACE mRNA. The complete amino acid sequence deduced from the cDNA contains 1306 residues, beginning with a signal peptide of 29 amino acids. A highly hydrophobic sequence located near the carboxyl-terminal extremity of the molecule most likely constitutes the anchor to the plasma membrane. The sequence of ACE reveals a high degree of internal homology between two large domains, suggesting that the molecule resulted from a gene duplication. Each of these two domains contains short amino acid sequences identical to those located around critical residues of the active site of other metallopeptidases (thermolysin, neutral endopeptidase, and collagenase) and therefore bears a putative active site. Since earlier experiments suggested that a single Zn atom was bound per molecule of ACE, only one of the two domains should be catalytically active. The results of genomic DNA analysis with the cDNA probe are consistent with the presence of a single gene for ACE in the haploid human genome. Whereas the ACE gene is transcribed as a 4.3-kilobase mRNA in vascular endothelial cells, a 3.0-kilobase transcript was detected in the testis, where a shorter form of ACE is synthesized.