A previously cloned partial adenosine deaminase cDNA insert (0.8 kilobase) was used to clone additional nucleotide sequences from human HPB ALL cDNA libraries. cDNA encompassing the entire coding, and 3'-untranslated regions as well as nearly all of the 5'-untranslated region was obtained. The complete amino acid sequence of the enzyme deduced from the cDNA sequence and protein sequencing consists of 362 amino acids, excluding the initiator Met, and accounts for Mr = 40,638. Secondary structure predictions assign adenosine deaminase to the alpha/beta class of proteins. Northern blot analysis with a cDNA probe showed adenosine deaminase mRNA to be present in normal to above normal amounts in B-lymphoblasts derived from adenosine deaminase-deficient patients with severe combined immunodeficiency disease. Knowledge of the cDNA and primary amino acid sequence of adenosine deaminase will be pivotal in further defining the genetic abnormality and its functional consequences in adenosine deaminase expression defects.