The human gene encoding pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) was isolated and its nucleotide sequence was determined. By comparison with a human PACAP cDNA, the exon/intron organization of PACAP gene was determined. The last exon encoded the longer form of PACAP, PACAP38 and 3'-untranslated sequences, suggesting that the shorter form of PACAP, PACAP27 is not generated by alternative splicing mechanisms. The 5'-flanking region of the PACAP gene contains several sequence motifs homologous to CRE, TRE, and GHF-1. On the basis of DNA isolated from mouse A9 microcell hybrid clone containing a single human chromosome, the PACAP gene was assigned to human chromosome 18. Furthermore, we determined the locus of the gene to be 18p11 by the chromosomal in situ hybridization technique.