The human deoxycytidine kinase gene is a single copy gene and is comprised of seven exons that are spread over more than 34 kb of the genome. The 5'-flanking region is highly G/C rich and does not contain CAAT or TATA boxes. This region, when cloned into a recorder gene construct containing the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene, is capable of mediating CAT activity in human lymphoid cell lines and appears to have greater activity in human T, as compared to B, lymphoblast cell lines. The expression of the gene at the mRNA level does not appear to be cell-cycle regulated in that the levels of mRNA in human peripheral blood T lymphocytes remain constant as the cells progress from a resting to a proliferating state. Since this enzyme catalyzes the conversion of a number of chemotherapeutic agents to their corresponding monophosphate form and is thus essential for their activation, it will be important to define further the genetic elements which regulate the expression of this gene.