lmmature coconut (Cocos nucifera) endosperm contains a 1 -acylsn-glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (LPAAT) activity that shows a preference for medium-chain-length fatty acyl-coenzyme A substrates (H.M. Davies, D.J. Hawkins, J.S. Nelsen  Phytochemistry 39: 989-996). Beginning with solubilized membrane preparations, we have used chromatographic separations to identify a polypeptide with an apparent molecular mass of 29 kD, whose presence in various column fractions correlates with the acyltransferase activity detected in those same fractions. Amino acid sequence data obtained from severa1 peptides generated from this protein were used to isolate a full-length clone from a coconut endosperm cDNA library. Clone pCGN5503 contains a 1325-bp cDNA insert with an open reading frame encoding a 308-amino acid protein with a calculated molecular mass of 34.8 kD. Comparison of the deduced amino acid sequence of pCCN5503 to sequences in the data banks revealed significant homology to other putative LPAAT sequences. Expression of the coconut cDNA in Escherichia coli conferred upon those cells a nove1 LPAAT activity whose substrate activity profile matched that of the coconut enzyme.