By adopting a monoclonal antibody approach, we have identified a novel splicing factor of 35 kDa which we have termed 9G8. The isolation and characterization of cDNA clones indicate that 9G8 is a novel member of the serine/arginine (SR) splicing factor family because it includes an N-terminal RNA binding domain (RBD) and a C-terminal SR domain. The RNA binding domain of 9G8 is highly homologous to those of the SRp20 and RBP1 factors (79-71% identity), but the homology is less pronounced in the cases of SF2/ASF and SC35/PR264 (45-37% identity). Compared with the other SR splicing factors, 9G8 presents some specific sequence features because it contains an RRSRSXSX consensus sequence repeated six times in the SR domain, and a CCHC motif in its median region, similar to the zinc knuckle found in the SLU7 splicing factor in yeast. Complete immunodepletion of 9G8 from a nuclear extract, which is accompanied by a substantial depletion of other SR factors, results in a loss of splicing activity. We show that a recombinant 9G8 protein, expressed using a baculovirus vector and excluding other SR factors, rescues the splicing activity of a 9G8-depleted nuclear extract and an S100 cytoplasmic fraction. This indicates that 9G8 plays a crucial role in splicing, similar to that of the other SR splicing factors. This similarity was confirmed by the fact that purified human SC35 also rescues the 9G8-depleted extract. The identification of the 9G8 factor enlarges the essential family of SR splicing factors, whose members have also been proposed to play key roles in alternative splicing.