Egr-1 is an early growth response gene that displays fos-like induction kinetics in fibroblasts, epithelial cells, and lymphocytes following mitogenic stimulation. Sequence analysis of murine Egr-1 cDNA predicts a protein with three DNA binding zinc fingers. The human EGR1 gene maps to chromosome 5 (bands 5q23-31). Egr-1 mRNA increases dramatically during cardiac and neural cell differentiation, and following membrane depolarization both in vitro and in vivo. Thus, Egr-1 and c-fos are often coregulated with strikingly similar kinetics. These results, in conjunction with the Egr-1 primary structure, suggest that Egr-1 may function as a transcriptional regulator in diverse biological processes.