The purpose of this work was to analyze cDNA encoding human monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), previously isolated from glioma cell line culture fluid. Screening of a cDNA library from total poly(A) RNA of glioma cell line U-105MG yielded a clone that coded for the entire MCP-1. Nucleotide sequence analysis and comparison with the amino acid sequence of purified MCP-1 showed that the cDNA clone comprises a 53-nucleotide 5'-non-coding region, an open reading frame coding for a 99-residue protein of which the last 76 residues correspond exactly to pure MCP-1, and a 389-nucleotide 3'-untranslated region. The hydrophobicity of the first 23 residues is typical of a signal peptide. Southern blot analysis of human and animal genomic DNA showed that there is a single MCP-1 gene, which is conserved in several primates. MCP-1 mRNA was induced in human peripheral blood mononuclear leukocytes (PBMNLs) by PHA, LPS and IL-1, but not by IL-2, TNF, or IFN-gamma. Among proteins with similar sequences, the coding regions of MCP-1 and mouse JE show 68% identity. This suggest that MCP-1 is the human homologue of the mouse competence gene JE.