Interferon regulatory factors (IRFs) regulate transcription of interferon genes through DNA sequence-specific binding to these targets. Using a differential display method for examining gene expression in p53-defective cells infected with adenovirus containing wild-type p53, we found that expression of interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF-5) mRNA was increased in the presence of exogenous p53. An electrophoretic mobility-shift assay showed that a potential p53 binding site (p53BS) detected in exon 2 of the IRF-5 gene could in fact bind to p53 protein. Moreover, a heterologous reporter assay revealed that the p53BS possessed p53-dependent transcriptional activity. Expression of IRF-5 was induced in p53+/+ cells (MCF7 and NHDF), but not inp53-/- cells (H1299) when DNA was damaged by gamma-irradiation, UV-radiation, or adriamycin treatment in a wild-type p53-dependent manner. These results suggest that IRF-5 is a novel p53-target, and that it might mediate the p53-dependent immune response.