We analysed a complex translocation involving chromosomes 5, 6, 8 and 11 in a case of infant leukemia. Molecular analysis of the MLL gene revealed that MLL was fused with two different genes, AF-6 on chromosome 6q27 and AF-5alpha. AF-5alpha, the 11th partner gene fused with MLL, is a novel gene mapped to chromosome 5q12, which encodes a 31 kDa protein of 269 amino acids and contains a possible nuclear targeting sequence, a potential leucine zipper dimerization motif and an alpha-helical coiled-coil domain. In situ hybridization and molecular cloning analyses demonstrated that two different types of chromosomal recombination had occurred in the cells. One was a three-way translocation among chromosomes 6, 8 and 11, and the other was an insertion of a chromosome 5-derived segment into the breakpoint of chromosomes 8 and 11. Accordingly, the karyotype was defined as del(5)(q11.2q12), der(6)t(6;8) (q27;q11.2), der(8)(8pter-->8q11.2::5q11.2-->5q12::11q23-->++ +11qter), der(11)t(6;11) (q27;q23). Thus, the MLL gene created two different fusion mRNAs, since the chromosome 11 split into two different chromosomes 5 and 6. This is the first report demonstrating fusion of the MLL gene with two different genes by a complex translocation.