The major protein of high density lipoprotein (HDL), apolipoprotein (apo) A-I, is the major activator of the plasma enzyme lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT). A consensus amino acid sequence has been defined for the eight, 22-residue long, tandem amphipathic helical repeats located in the carboxy-terminal region of apo A-I. A series of 22 and 44mer synthetic peptide analogues of the consensus domain, differing only in their 13th amino acid residue, were prepared and tested for LCAT activation. One of the peptides was found to equal apo A-I in LCAT activation. This is the first time a peptide activator for LCAT that rivals the activity of apo A-I in the vesicular and discoidal egg phosphatidylcholine assay systems has been synthesized. Based on these results, we propose that the major LCAT-activating domain of apo A-I resides in the 22mer tandem repeats, each containing Glu at the 13th residue and located between residues 66 and 121 in the native apolipoprotein.