We have identified a novel form of the full-length E2F-3 protein that we term E2F-3B. In contrast to full-length E2F-3, which is expressed only at the G1/S boundary, E2F-3B is detected throughout the cell cycle with peak levels in GO where it is associated with Rb. Transfection and in vitro translation experiments demonstrate that a protein identical to E2F-3B in size and iso-electric point is produced from the E2F-3 mRNA via the use of an alternative translational start site. This alternative initiation codon was mapped by mutagenesis to codon 102, an ACG codon. Mutation of the ACG codon at position 102 abolished E2F-3B expression, whereas the conversion of ACG 102 to a consensus ATG led to the expression of a protein indistinguishable from E2F-3B. Given these results, E2F-3B is missing 101 N-terminal amino acids relative to full-length E2F-3. This region includes a moderately conserved sequence of unknown function that is present only in the growth-promoting E2F family members, including E2F-1, 2 and full-length E2F-3. These observations make E2F-3B the first example of an E2F gene giving rise to two different protein species and also suggest that E2F-3 and E2F-3B may have opposing roles in cell cycle control.