Electrophoresis of rat dorsal prostate mRNAs on agarose gels containing methyl mercury hydroxide indicates the presence of several highly abundant mRNAs. In vitro translation of the total mRNAs in a cell-free system, followed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, yields protein products including two intense bands corresponding to 23,000 and 21,000 Da. Following castration of rats, these in vitro translation products of dorsal prostate mRNAs are absent. However, the dorsal prostate levels of these two proteins are returned to normal in castrated rats which have received testosterone. In order to investigate these abundant mRNAs of the dorsal prostate, we have constructed double-stranded cDNA clones using poly(A+) RNA extracted from that rat tissue. Clones containing sequences complementary to abundant mRNAs were selected kinetically by colony hybridization with 32P-labeled dorsal prostate cDNA. Further characterization of individual clones was accomplished by restriction mapping and Northern blot analysis. One clone, pM-40, was found to be near full length and was used for further studies. Interestingly, in hybrid-arrested cell-free translation, clone pM-40 completely arrests the translation of both the 23,000- and 21,000-Da protein products indicating close sequence homology between these two proteins. Furthermore, dot hybridization experiments demonstrate that, in the dorsal prostate, the pM-40-specific mRNAs decrease following castration and are restored by testosterone administration. However, the low levels of the same mRNAs in the ventral prostate are not altered by androgen manipulation. Thus, two closely related, androgen-dependent tissues maintain differential regulation of the pM-40 gene(s). This system provides an opportunity to study in two tissues the differential regulation of a gene that may be duplicated or that may code for two separate proteins.