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Full-length cDNA for plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) was isolated from a human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) lambda gt11 cDNA library. Three overlapping clones were identified by immunologic screening of 10(6) recombinant phage using a rabbit anti-human fibrosarcoma PAI-1 antiserum. The fusion proteins encoded by these three clones also react strongly with a monoclonal mouse anti-human fibrosarcoma PAI-1 antibody. By nucleotide sequence analysis, PAI-1 cDNA encodes a protein containing 402 amino acids with a predicted, nonglycosylated molecular mass of 45 kD. Identity of this material as authentic PAI-1 was confirmed by the presence of high level homology with the primary amino acid sequence of an internal peptide prepared from purified rat hepatoma PAI-1. The predicted amino acid sequence also reveals extensive homology with other members of the serine protease inhibitor gene family. Cultured HUVECs contain two PAI-1 mRNA species, both encoded by a single gene, differing by 1 kb in the 3' untranslated region. The PAI-1 gene is located on human chromosome 7.