Expression of the interferon-beta (IFN-beta) gene is induced by a variety of agents, including viruses. Evidence has been provided that a mouse nuclear factor, termed interferon regulatory factor-1 (IRF-1), specifically binds to the upstream regulatory region of the human IFN-beta gene and mediates virus-induced transcription of the gene. In this study, we describe the molecular cloning and characterization of the mouse and human cDNAs encoding IRF-1. Our results suggest that IRF-1 is also involved in the regulation of other genes such as IFN-alpha and MHC class I genes. Surprisingly, IRF-1 gene expression is dramatically induced by Newcastle disease virus in mouse L929 cells and by Concanavalin A in spleen cells. We show here that the IRF-1 gene possesses virus-inducible promoter.