A total of 29 human genomic DNA clones that hybridize with cDNAs for the sheep and rat Na,K-ATPase beta subunits have been isolated, classified by restriction endonuclease mapping and Southern blot hybridization analysis, and sequenced. One class of clones, designated ATP1BL1, represents a processed pseudogene for the beta subunit. The second class, designated ATP1B, includes 15 overlapping genomic clones and represents a functional gene for the human Na,K-ATPase beta subunit. ATP1B spans about 26.7 kb of genomic DNA and includes 24 kb of intron sequence. The complete mRNA transcript for the human beta subunit is encoded by six exons, ranging in size from 81 to 1427 bp. Primer extension and S1 nuclease protection experiments with human kidney RNA indicate the presence of two major transcription initiation sites at -510 and -201 to -191, with minor initiation sites at -268, -182 to -174, and -142. The distal initiation site at -510 is preceded by consensus sequences for CAAT and TATA boxes. The DNA sequence preceding the proximal heterogeneous initiation sites contains a CAAT box, but no TATA box. Two of the 12 GC boxes (GGCGGG and CCCGCC) located in the 5' region of ATP1B are located between this CAAT box and the proximal clusters of transcription initiation sites.