Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) 2 (KIAA0863; ZNF508) gene, a homeobox-profile containing gene, was identified in a screen for homologous proteins to ADNP. The human ADNP2 contains 1131 amino acid residues with a molecular weight of 122.8 KDa. In silico analysis indicated that ortholgs to ADNP2 exist in different phyla, suggesting that ADNP2 might be evolutionary conserved. Here, we began to explore the molecular and functional characterization of ADNP2. Results showed that the mouse ADNP2 mRNA is ubiquitously expressed in distinct normal tissues with increased expression in the brain, particularly in the cerebral cortex. During development, a relatively high level of ADNP2 gene expression was found in the embryonic mouse brain and was sustained throughout embryogenesis and adulthood. An increase in the mRNA was detected in differentiated P19 neuronal/glial-like cells as compared with the non-differentiated cells. To gain insight into ADNP2 function, ADNP2-deficient cell lines were established by the RNA silencing (small interfering RNA) technology. ADNP2 deficiency significantly changed the toxicity induced by hydrogen peroxide in P19 embryonic carcinoma cells, similar to what would be predicted for ADNP deficiency. These findings represent an initial characterization of ADNP2 and suggest that this gene product may have an important function in brain by playing a role in cellular survival pathways.