CTP:phosphocholine cytidylyltransferase (CT) is a key regulatory enzyme in phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis. We constructed a recombinant baculovirus (bCT) containing rat CT cDNA under the control of the polyhedrin promoter. Crude cell extracts of Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) cells infected with bCT possessed 250-fold higher specific activities for CT compared to rat liver cytosol, and CT protein constituted 3-6% of the total cellular protein. The 42-kDa form of CT predicted from the cDNA sequence was the first immunoreactive CT protein detected at Day 2 after infection and this form continued to accumulate until Day 5. On Day 3 following infection, a 37-kDa protein immunologically related to CT began to accumulate, indicating that CT was being degraded. The active, 42-kDa form of CT was purified to homogeneity in a single step using hydroxyapatite chromatography. Antibodies raised against recombinant CT were employed to quantitatively extract and assay CT activity in mammalian cell lines. The baculovirus expression system is suitable for the preparation of large amounts of protein for investigating the structure, function, and regulation of CT.