Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), a 28-amino acid peptide originally isolated from porcine duodenum, is present not only in gastrointestinal tissues but also in neural tissues, possibly as a neurotransmitter, and exhibits a wide range of biological actions (for example, relaxation of smooth muscle, stimulation of intestinal water and electrolyte secretion and release of insulin, glucagon and several anterior pituitary hormones). As the structure of porcine and bovine VIP shows several similarities to those of mammalian glucagon, secretin and gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP), VIP is considered to be a member of the glucagon-secretin family. Recently, we have found that VIP is synthesized from a precursor, pro-VIP (molecular weight (Mr) 17,500), in human neuroblastoma cells and that the primary translation product of the mRNA encoding VIP is prepro-VIP (Mr 20,000). In an attempt to elucidate the primary structure of the precursor, we have now cloned the DNA sequence complementary to the mRNA coding for human VIP and analysed the nucleotide sequence. The entire amino acid sequence of the precursor, deduced from the nucleotide sequence, indicates that the precursor protein contains not only VIP but also a novel peptide of 27 amino acids. The peptide, designated PHM-27, differs by only 2 amino acids from PHI-27, a peptide recently isolated from porcine intestine, and is also closely related in sequence to VIP.