The amino acid sequence of human plasma prekallikrein was determined by a combination of automated Edman degradation and cDNA sequencing techniques. Human plasma prekallikrein was fragmented with cyanogen bromide, and 13 homogeneous peptides were isolated and sequenced. Cyanogen bromide peptides containing carbohydrate were further digested with trypsin, and the peptides containing carbohydrate were isolated and sequenced. Five asparagine-linked carbohydrate attachment sites were identified. The sequence determined by Edman degradation was aligned with the amino acid sequence predicted from cDNAs isolated from a lambda gt11 expression library. This library contained cDNA inserts prepared from human liver poly(A) RNA. Analysis of the cDNA indicated that human plasma prekallikrein is synthesized as a precursor with a signal peptide of 19 amino acids. The mature form of the protein that circulates in blood is a single-chain polypeptide of 619 amino acids. Plasma prekallikrein is converted to plasma kallikrein by factor XIIa by the cleavage of an internal Arg-Ile bond. Plasma kallikrein is composed of a heavy chain (371 amino acids) and a light chain (248 amino acids), and these 2 chains are held together by a disulfide bond. The heavy chain of plasma kallikrein originates from the amino-terminal end of the zymogen and is composed of 4 tandem repeats that are 90 or 91 amino acid residues in length. These repeat sequences are also homologous to those in human factor XI. The light chain of plasma kallikrein contains the catalytic portion of the enzyme and is homologous to the trypsin family of serine proteases.