Secretion of a foreign protein--chicken oviduct lysozyme--and of endogenous proteins was studied in the polarized epithelial Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cell line. Cell clones that secrete enzymatically active chicken lysozyme were generated by transforming the cells with lysozyme cDNA inserted in a SV40-pBR322 recombinant vector and a dominant selectable marker gene. The kinetics and polarity of lysozyme secretion from one transformed cell clone were studied using cell monolayers grown on nitrocellulose filters. Lysozyme was secreted into the apical and the basolateral medium, demonstrating the existence of direct transport pathways to each cell surface. Control experiments excluded the effects of monolayer leakiness, reabsorption, transepithelial transport, and depolarization. In contrast, the secretion of a set of endogenous proteins of MW 30-40 kd was found to be strictly apical showing that polarized secretion also occurs in this cell line. The latter group of proteins appear to be generated from larger precursor molecules by intracellular cleavage.