A 2.3-kilobase cDNA clone encoding lipoamide dehydrogenase was isolated from a porcine adrenal medulla library in the vector pCD by screening with four synthetic oligonucleotide probes corresponding to amino acid sequence from tryptic peptides of porcine lipoamide dehydrogenase. A 450-bp fragment of the porcine cDNA was used to screen a human small cell lambda gt10 library at reduced stringency. Overlapping human cDNA clones of various lengths were isolated, the largest of which was again 2.3 kilobases in length. Sequencing of both porcine and human cDNAs revealed a short 5'-untranslated region followed by 1530-bp of coding region and 700 bp of 3'-untranslated region preceding a poly(A) tail. The porcine cDNA displayed coding regions corresponding to the known tryptic peptides and a 35-amino acid leader sequence involved in targeting of the protein to the mitochondria. The human lipoamide dehydrogenase cDNA is 96% identical to the porcine at the amino acid level. Alignment of the deduced amino acid sequence of human lipoamide dehydrogenase with human erythrocyte glutathione reductase and mercuric reductase from Tn501 revealed extensive homologies throughout the primary sequence, suggesting that secondary and tertiary structure is also similar among these three enzymes.