The full-length cDNA for a transcriptional activator, DBP, that binds to the D site of the albumin promoter has been cloned. DBP belongs to a family of related transcription factors including Fos, Jun, CREB, and C/EBP, which share a conserved basic domain. However, unlike most other members of this family, DBP does not contain a "leucine zipper" structure. Among several rat tissues tested, significant levels of its protein are only observed in liver; yet, with the exception of testis, DBP mRNA is present in all of the examined tissues. DBP as well as its mRNA accumulate to significant levels only in adult animals. During chemically induced liver regeneration, DBP expression is rapidly down-regulated, suggesting that DBP may be involved in the proliferation control of hepatocytes. This cell growth-dependent expression of DBP, in contrast to its tissue specificity, appears to be controlled at the level of mRNA accumulation.