Recombinant DNA technology has been widely used for the production of proteins in recent years. In this paper, we describe the expression and the purification of two specific peptides corresponding to parts of the human immunodeficiency virus Rev protein. The strategy of this method relies on the chemical synthesis of a pair of two complementary oligodeoxynucleotides corresponding to the coding region of the peptide of interest and the subsequent cloning into a prokaryotic expression vector. Transformation of Escherichia coli with these synthetic gene constructs yielded high production levels of recombinant protein in the bacteria. The recombinant protein was composed of two moieties, one corresponding to an "affinity handle" and the second corresponding to the peptide. Chemical cleavage of the fused protein followed by a combination of affinity chromatography and rp-HPLC led to rapid and convenient peptide purification. Peptide fused to the affinity handle as well as cleaved peptide were fully characterized by N-terminal microsequencing and mass spectrometry. The data presented demonstrate that although the major recombinant products had the expected amino acid composition, we detected unexpected processing such as alternative cleavage within the signal peptide, modified cysteines, and deamidations. These results emphasize the importance of the complete characterization of recombinant products by efficient analytical tools such as N-terminal microsequencing and mass spectrometry.