It has been suggested that hepatitis B virus (HBV) X gene activates X gene expression by disrupting the function of p53 tumor suppressor gene (Takada et al., 1996). To find out their connection, effect of X protein expression on the nuclear localization of p53 protein in human hepatoma cells was examined by the immunofluorescent double-staining technique. The location of transiently-expressed p53 protein was examined in X gene-transfected cells, where X protein was detected in the cytoplasm. The nuclear location of transiently-expressed p53 protein was changed to the cytoplasm by X protein co-expression. Endogenous p53 protein was also observed in the cytoplasm by X protein expression. The transcriptional activation domain of X protein and the carboxy-terminal region of p53 protein were found mutually responsible for the cytoplasmic retention of p53 protein in X gene-transfected cells. Therefore, the cytoplasmic retention of p53 protein may be closely correlated to the function of X protein expressed in transfected cells.