Plasmid expression vectors have been constructed that direct the synthesis of foreign polypeptides in Escherichia coli as fusions with the C terminus of Sj26, a 26-kDa glutathione S-transferase (GST; EC 188.8.131.52) encoded by the parasitic helminth Schistosoma japonicum. In the majority of cases, fusion proteins are soluble in aqueous solutions and can be purified from crude bacterial lysates under non-denaturing conditions by affinity chromatography on immobilised glutathione. Using batch wash procedures several fusion proteins can be purified in parallel in under 2 h with yields of up to 15 micrograms protein/ml of culture. The vectors have been engineered so that the GST carrier can be cleaved from fusion proteins by digestion with site-specific proteases such as thrombin or blood coagulation factor Xa, following which, the carrier and any uncleaved fusion protein can be removed by absorption on glutathione-agarose. This system has been used successfully for the expression and purification of more than 30 different eukaryotic polypeptides.