Poly(A)-binding protein (PABP) mRNA is subject to autoregulation through a 61 nucleotides long A-rich sequence in its 5' untranslated region (UTR). Here, we show that this mode of regulation is exerted in a cell type-specific manner. Thus, overexpression of PABP in mouse NIH 3T3 fibroblasts represses the translation of the respective endogenous mRNA or that of a chimeric mRNA containing just the 5' UTR of PABP mRNA. In contrast, ectopic expression of PABP in human embryonic kidney 293 cells down-regulates the abundance of the endogenous PABP mRNA, rather than affecting its translational efficiency. Transfection experiments with chimeric constructs suggest that the lack of translational autoregulation of endogenous PABP mRNA in these cells appears to reflect the presence of an overriding regulatory element outside the A-rich region.