Fas ligand (FasL) is a 40 kDa type II membrane protein belonging to the tumor necrosis factor family, which induces apoptosis by binding to its receptor, Fas. In this report, we isolated the chromosomal gene for human FasL. The human FasL gene consists of approximately 8.0 kb and is split into four exons. The human FasL gene was mapped on chromosome 1q23 by in situ hybridization against human metaphase chromosomes. Human FasL cDNA was isolated by the reverse polymerase chain reaction of mRNA prepared from human activated peripheral blood lymphocytes. Human FasL is a type II membrane protein consisting of 281 amino acids with a calculated M(r) of 31,759. It has an identity of 76.9% at the amino acid sequence level with mouse FasL. Both human and mouse recombinant FasL expressed in COS induced apoptosis in the cells expressing either human Fas or mouse Fas, indicating that FasL fully cross-reacts between human and mouse. A comparison of human and mouse FasL chromosomal genes indicated that a approximately 300 bp sequence upstream of the ATG initiation codon is highly conserved between them. Several transcription cis-regulatory elements such as SP-1, NF-kappa B and IRF-1 were recognized in this region.