The mouse midpregnancy lactogen or placental lactogen I (mPL-I) is encoded by a 1.0-kilobase mRNA that appears transiently during gestation, with maximal amounts accumulating in the placenta at day 10 of pregnancy. Several cDNA clones for mPL-I have been isolated from a lambda gt11 expression library constructed from day 10-placental RNA. The cDNA sequence indicates that mPL-I is synthesized as a 224 amino acid precursor, and is secreted as a 194 amino acid glycosylated hormone. The deduced amino acid sequence of mPL-I is highly homologous to the known members of the PRL family in the mouse, and hybridization analysis indicates that the mouse genome contains several mPL-I genes. Introduction of the mPL-I cDNA in an expression vector into cultured mouse cells results in the synthesis and secretion of glycosylated mPL-I protein that is recognized by anti-mPL-I antiserum and is biologically active.