Northern analysis of human multiple tissue blots containing poly A+ RNA from spleen, thymus, prostate, testis, ovary, small intestine, colon and peripheral blood leukocytes revealed that a prostate specific transcript hybridizes to a tear lipocalin/von Ebner's gland protein (TL/VEGP) gene probe. To characterize this transcript, the corresponding cDNA was amplified by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR. Cloning and sequence analysis showed that it was identical to the tear lipocalin cDNA isolated from human lachrymal glands. Immunohistochemical analysis on thin layer sections of human prostate using a tear lipocalin specific antiserum confirmed the expression of this cDNA in prostate. Thus, our results clearly argue against a unique function of TL/VEGP in human tear fluid or saliva. The human cDNA was expressed in E. coli using the pQE system yielding a recombinant protein which shows biochemical properties identical to the native TL/VEGP.