Many human malignant cells lack methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) enzyme activity. The gene (MTAP) encoding this enzyme was previously mapped to the short arm of chromosome 9, band p21-22, a region that is frequently deleted in multiple tumor types. To clone candidate tumor suppressor genes from the deleted region on 9p21-22, we have constructed a long-range physical map of 2.8 megabases for 9p21 by using overlapping yeast artificial chromosome and cosmid clones. This map includes the type IIFN gene cluster, the recently identified candidate tumor suppressor genes CDKN2 (p16INK4A) and CDKN2B (p15INK4B), and several CpG islands. In addition, we have identified other transcription units within the yeast artificial chromosome contig. Sequence analysis of a 2.5-kb cDNA clone isolated from a CpG island that maps between the IFN genes and CDKN2 reveals a predicted open reading frame of 283 amino acids followed by 1302 nucleotides of 3' untranslated sequence. This gene is evolutionarily conserved and shows significant amino acid homologies to mouse and human purine nucleoside phosphorylases and to a hypothetical 25.8-kDa protein in the pet gene (coding for cytochrome bc1 complex) region of Rhodospirillum rubrum. The location, expression pattern, and nucleotide sequence of this gene suggest that it codes for the MTAP enzyme.