Cardiac differentiation involves a cascade of coordinated gene expression that regulates cell proliferation and matrix protein formation in a defined temporal-spatial manner. The C(2)H(2) zinc finger-containing transcription factors have been implicated as critical regulators of multiple cardiac-expressed genes and are important for human heart development and diseases. Here we have identified and characterized a novel zinc-finger gene named ZNF322 using degenerated primers from a human embryo heart cDNA library. The gene contains four exons and spans 23.2kb in chromosome 6p22.1 region, and transcribes a 2.7kb mRNA that encodes a protein with 402 amino acid residues. The predicted protein contains 9 tandem C(2)H(2)-type zinc-finger motifs. Northern blot analysis shows that ZNF322 is expressed in every human tissue examined at adult stage and during embryonic developmental stages from 80 days to 24 weeks. When overexpressed in COS-7 cells, ZNF322-EGFP fusion protein is detected in the nucleus and cytoplasm. Reporter gene assays show that ZNF322 is a transcriptional activator. Furthermore, overexpression of ZNF322 in COS-7 cells activates the transcriptional activity of SRE and AP-1. Together, these results suggest that ZNF322 is a member of the zinc-finger transcription factor family and may act as a positive regulator in gene transcription mediated by the MAPK signaling pathways.