Recombinant bacterial plasmids have been constructed that contain complementary DNA prepared from rat islets of Langerhans messenger RNA. Three plasmids contain cloned sequences representing the complete coding region of rat proinsulin I, part of the preproinsulin I prepeptide, and the untranslated 3' terminal region of the mRNA. A fourth plasmid contains sequences derived from the A chain region of rat preproinsulin II.