Mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase phosphatases (MKPs) constitute a growing family of dual specificity phosphatases, which dephosphorylate both serine/threonine and tyrosine residues of MAP kinases. MAP kinase signaling cascades are involved in the control of cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. In mammals, ten members of the dual-specificity MKP family have so far been identified. In this report, we describe the cloning and expression analysis of the mouse Mkp3 gene. During early development, expression of Mkp3 is most prominent in the primitive streak, presomitic mesoderm and somites, frontonasal prominence, midbrain/hindbrain boundary, branchial arches and limb buds. At later stages, expression is also detected in the tooth primordia, vibrissae, hair follicles, pinna, submandibular gland, mammary gland primordia, lung and kidney. Strong expression was detected in the adult brain.