GATA3, a member of the GATA family that is abundantly expressed in the T-lymphocyte lineage, is thought to participate in T-cell receptor gene activation through binding to enhancers. To understand GATA3 gene regulation, we cloned the human gene and the 5' end of the mouse GATA3 gene. We show that the human GATA3 gene contains six exons distributed over 17 kb of DNA. The two human GATA3 zinc fingers are encoded by two separate exons highly conserved with those of GATA1, but no other structural homologies between these two genes can be found. The human and mouse GATA3 transcription units start at a major initiation site. The promoter sequence analysis of these two genes revealed that they are embedded within a CpG island and share structural features often found in the promoters of housekeeping genes. Finally, we show that a DNA fragment containing the human GATA3 transcription unit, 3 kb upstream from the initiation site and 4 kb downstream from the polyadenylation site, displays T-cell specificity.