The expression of procyclic acidic repetitive protein (PARP) by Trypanosoma brucei is strongly induced during the transition of bloodstream form to cultured procyclic trypomastigotes in vitro. The membrane-associated protein is distinguished by a central domain consisting of tandemly repeated glutamate-proline dipeptides. The trypanosome genome contains eight PARP genes, at least four of which are expressed. A minimum of four distinct PARP mRNA species comprises two classes of PARP mRNA, based upon divergent 3' untranslated region sequences, and these mRNAs encode polypeptides that exhibited an inverse relation between molecular weight and isoelectric point. Comparative analysis of PARP gene structure indicated that these polypeptides differ by variation in size of the dipeptide repeat domain. Comparison of PARP genes and polypeptides of three independent T. brucei isolates suggested that PARP is not a homogeneous species but instead represents a family of polymorphic proteins.