Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 (HNF-4) is an essential positive regulator of a large number of liver-specific genes. We report here the isolation of three HNF-4 isoforms from a human liver cDNA library. hHNF-4A and hHNF-4B, differing by the insertion of 10 amino acids in the C-terminal region, have been previously identified in mouse, rat and human liver. The novel isoform, hHNF-4C, is identical to hHNF-4A and B in the regions encompassing the DNA-binding and dimerization domains, but contains a different C-terminal domain. Similar to the other isoforms, hHNF-4C is produced in a limited number of tissues and represents 2.6-13% of the total hHNF-4 mRNA population, depending on the cell type. The chromosomal origin of all three isoforms has been localized to human chromosome 20. hHNF-4C can form heterodimers with hHNF-4A and B in vitro, and exhibits similar transactivation potential as hHNF-4A or B in transient transfection assays, suggesting that the divergent C-terminal region is not part of the transactivation domain.