Recombinant plasmids containing DNA inserts complementary to mRNA coding for hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT) from mouse and Chinese hamster cell lines have been isolated from cDNA libraries and characterized by DNA sequence analysis. A total of 1292 nucleotides of the mouse cDNA sequence and 1301 nucleotides of the Chinese hamster cDNA sequence has been determined. Each of these sequences includes an open reading frame of 654 nucleotides (218 amino acids) corresponding to the HPRT protein coding region. The deduced amino acid sequences for the mouse and Chinese hamster enzymes are presented and compared to that of human HPRT. At least 95% of the amino acids are conserved in the three species. In addition, we present evidence that two species of HPRT mRNA, which differ in the site of polyadenylation that is utilized during processing of the RNA transcripts, exist in Chinese hamster cells.