The interferon regulatory factor (IRF) genes encode a family of transcription factors involved in the transcriptional regulation of interferon and the interferon stimulated genes through recognition of the interferon stimulated response element. We previously reported the cloning of a murine lymphocyte-specific IRF (mLSIRF), which was rapidly induced following B- or T-cell receptor crosslinking. To study the role of LSIRF in human lymphocyte development, we have cloned the complete 5.3-kb cDNA for the human homolog (hLSIRF). hLSIRF is a protein of 450 amino acids with a predicted molecular weight of 51.6 kDa and possesses 92% identity at the amino acid level to mLSIRF, including near identity in the DNA-binding domain. In Northern blot analysis, a single transcript of approximately 5 kb was highly expressed in spleen and peripheral blood lymphocyte. hLSIRF mRNA was rapidly induced in peripheral T cells after crosslinking the T-cell receptor. Analysis of tumor cell lines showed that hLSIRF mRNA was basally expressed in most B- but not T-cell lines. Surprisingly hLSIRF mRNA was also found in the melanoma line G361 and is expressed in normal melanocytes as well. Sequence from a genomic clone for hLSIRF was compared to that from mouse and revealed an identical exon-intron structure and a conserved PU-1-binding motif in the promoter. By FISH analysis, hLSIRF was mapped to 6p23-p25.