Malic enzyme (EC 18.104.22.168) mRNA was partially purified to 12% of total mRNA activity (greater than 150-fold enrichment) from 3-5-3'-triiodo-L-thyronine-carbohydrate-stimulated rat liver by polysome immunopurification followed by oligo(dT)-cellulose chromatography. This preparation was used as the template for synthesis of cDNA on a pBR322-SV40 hybrid plasmid DNA primer which was then circularized with linker DNA and used to transform Escherichia coli. The resulting transformants were screened by in situ differential hybridization using 32P-labeled poly(A+)RNA prepared from uninduced and 3-5-3'-triiodo-L-thyronine-carbohydrate-induced rat livers. Of 750 transformants screened, 6 were found to hybridize differentially; 1 of these, prME, contained an insert of about 1250 base pairs and hybrid-selected an mRNA which directed synthesis of malic enzyme in a cell-free translation system. Using this cDNA as a probe, we demonstrated that the level of malic enzyme mRNA after thyroid hormone treatment was markedly increased and the size of the major malic enzyme mRNA was shown by Northern analysis to be about 2700 nucleotides in length.