The principal brain vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT2) pumps monoamines including dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and histamine from neuronal cytoplasm into synaptic vesicles and is implicated in actions of certain psychostimulants and selective neurotoxins. To improve understanding of this gene and its regulation, and to facilitate study of the roles played by this important molecule in mouse genetic models, we have cloned murine VMAT2 cDNA and genomic sequences. A 4.2-kb mouse VMAT2 cDNA hybridized to a 4.3-kb mRNA expressed chiefly in brainstem. Murine cDNA and genomic DNA analyses reveal an open reading frame of 1551 bp encoding 517 amino acids that display 92, 96 and 60% amino-acid identity with human and rat VMAT2, and rat vesicular acetylcholine transporter sequences, respectively. This open reading frame is distributed over 15 of 16 identified exons, and spans > 35 kb of genomic DNA. A major transcriptional initiation site is identified 107 bp 5' to the translational initiation ATG codon using primer extension/5' rapid amplification of cDNA ends. Sequences immediately 5' of this putative transcription start site lack 'TATA' or 'CATT' boxes, but contain consensus sequences that may bind cAMP response element, Sp1, AP2 and other transcription factors. Identification of these genomic sequences facilitates construction of homologous recombinant mice, provides a template for gene structures in the vesicular transporter family, and identifies sequences elements that could contribute to the specific patterns of regulated VMAT2 expression in monoaminergic neurons.