The complete cDNA nucleic acid sequence of preproapolipoprotein (apo) A-II, a major protein constituent of high density lipoproteins, has been determined on clones from a human liver ds-cDNA library. Clones containing ds-cDNA for apoA-II were identified in the human liver ds-cDNA library using synthetic oligonucleotides as probes. Of 3200 clones screened, 4 reacted with the oligonucleotide probes. The DNA sequence coding for amino acids -17 to +17 of apoA-II were determined by Maxam-Gilbert sequence analysis of restriction fragments isolated from one of these clones, pMDB2049. The remainder of the cDNA sequence was established by sequence analysis of a primer extension product synthesized utilizing a restriction fragment near the 5'-end of clone pMDB2049 as primer with total liver mRNA. The apoA-II mRNA encodes for a 100 amino acid protein, preproapoA-II that has an 18 amino acid prepeptide and a 5 amino acid propeptide terminating with a basic dipeptide (Arg-Arg) at the cleavage site to mature apoA-II.