We have determined the nucleotide sequence of 4508 base pairs of human genomic DNA which contain the human serine esterase gene from cytotoxic T lymphocytes (SECT) (equivalent to the 1-3E cDNA clone) and include 879 bp of 5' flanking DNA and 393 bp of 3' flanking DNA. The gene consists of five exons of 88, 148, 136, 261, and 257 nucleotides separated by four introns of 1043, 455, 205, and 643 nucleotides. The location of introns with respect to protein coding sequences in the SECT gene is identical to that of the human cathepsin G and murine granzyme B genes. Comparison of SECT gene exonic sequences to murine granzyme B-F cDNA sequences indicates similarities of 75 and 72% for granzymes B and C and 61, 59, and 61% for granzymes D, E, and F, respectively. The 5' flanking sequence of the SECT gene showed similarity only to the 5' flanking sequence of the murine granzyme B gene, indicating that these genes are homologous. Comparison of the SECT gene sequence to the human cathepsin G sequence indicated no similarity in the 5' flanking DNA although the exonic sequences show 64% sequence similarity overall and 45% sequence similarity in the respective 3' untranslated regions. These similarities suggest that the SECT and cathepsin G genes are members of the same family of serine protease genes. Evidence from high and low stringency Southern transfer analysis of human genomic DNA indicates the presence of another gene of at least 85% sequence similarity to the SECT gene.