The acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL)-specific chromosome 15;17 translocation leads to the fusion of a newly identified putative transcription factor, PML, and the retinoic acid receptor alpha. We have characterized the structure of the PML genomic locus and preliminarily characterized its expression pattern. The PML locus spans a minimum of 35 kb and is subdivided into nine exons. The putative PML DNA binding site is encoded by exons 2 and 3. We isolated a large number of alternatively spliced PML transcripts that encode numerous PML isoforms. Two groups of isoforms were identified that differed either in their C-terminal region or in the length of their central region, but retained the putative DNA-binding and dimerization domains. RNAase protection experiments revealed that the different PML isoforms are equally expressed in established cell lines of different histological origin.