We describe here an Escherichia coli expression system that produces recombinant proteins enriched in the N-terminal processed form, by using glutathione S-transferase cGSTM1-1 and rGSTT1-1 as models, where c and r refer to chick and rat respectively. Approximately 90% of the cGSTM1-1 or rGSTT1-1 overexpressed in E. coli under the control of a phoA promoter retained the initiator methionine residue that was absent from the mature isoenzymes isolated from tissues. The amount of initiator methionine was decreased to 40% of the expressed cGSTM1-1 when the isoenzyme was co-expressed with an exogenous methionine aminopeptidase gene under the control of a separate phoA promoter. The recombinant proteins expressed were mainly methionine aminopeptidase. The yield of cGSTM1-1 was decreased to 10% of that expressed in the absence of the exogenous methionine aminopeptidase gene. By replacing the phoA with its natural promoter, the expression of methionine aminopeptidase decreased drastically. The yield of the co-expressed cGSTM1-1 was approx. 60% of that in the absence of the exogenous methionine aminopeptidase gene; approx. 65% of the initiator methionine residues were removed from the enzyme. Under similar conditions, N-terminal processing was observed in approx. 70% of the recombinant rGSTT1-1 expressed. By increasing the concentration of phosphate in the growth medium, the amount of initiator methionine on cGSTM1-1 was decreased to 14% of the overexpressed isoenzymes, whereas no further improvement could be observed for rGSTT1-1. The initiator methionine residue does not affect the enzymic activities of either cGSTM1-1 or rGSTT1-1. However, the epoxidase activity and the 4-nitrobenzyl chloride-conjugating activity of the purified recombinant rGSTT1-1 are markedly higher that those reported recently for the same isoenzyme isolated from rat livers.