Dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder characterized by genetic anticipation and variable combinations of symptoms including myoclonus, epilepsy, cerebellar ataxia, choreoathetosis, and dementia. Recently, we discovered that DRPLA is caused by unstable expansion of a CAG repeat of a gene on the short arm of chromosome 12. We determined the consensus DRPLA cDNA sequence containing the complete coding region for 1,185 amino acids. The CAG repeat, which is expanded in DRPLA, is located 1,462 bp downstream from the putative methionine initiation codon and encodes a poly-glutamine tract. Although poly-serine and proline tracts exist near the CAG repeats, these polyserine or proline tracts did not show any polymorphisms, which is in strong contrast to the high heterogeneity in the length of the CAG repeat. Northern blot analysis revealed a 4.7-kb transcript that is widely expressed in various tissues including heart, lung, kidney, placenta, skeletal muscle, and brain. Reverse transcription-PCR analysis revealed that the expanded alleles are transcribed to levels comparable to those of normal alleles. These results indicate that there is no difference in transcriptional efficiency between expanded and normal alleles. Furthermore, mRNA from cerebellar hemispheres of DRPLA patients showed smaller sizes of CAG repeats compared with other regions of the brain, which reflects somatic mosaicism of the expanded alleles of the DRPLA gene.