Full-length (86-residue) polypeptide corresponding to the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 tat trans-activating protein was chemically synthesized on a semiautomated apparatus, using an Fmoc amino acid continuous-flow strategy. The bulk material was relatively homogeneous, as judged by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and isoelectric focusing, and it showed trans-activating activity when scrape loaded into cells containing a human immunodeficiency virus long terminal repeat-chloramphenicol acetyl-transferase reporter plasmid. Reverse-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography yielded a rather broad elution profile, and assays across the column for biological activity indicated a sharper peak. Thus, high-pressure liquid chromatography provided for enrichment of biological activity. Fast atom bombardment-mass spectrometry of tryptic digests of synthetic tat identified several of the predicted tryptic peptides, consistent with accurate chemical synthesis.