The transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) superfamily is a family of multifunctional cytokines that transduce signals via serine/threonine kinase receptors. Recent studies revealed that Mothers against dpp (Mad) in Drosophila and its homologs play important roles in the intracellular signal transduction of the serine/threonine kinase receptors. In mammals, one of the Mad homologs, MADH2 (also termed Smad2), was reported to be a mediator of TGF-beta and activin signaling and was found mutated in some of the colon and lung cancer cases. We describe here the genomic organization of the human MADH2 gene. The gene is composed of 12 exons; 2 exons 1, i.e., exon 1a and 1b, are used separately or in conjunction to form exon 1a-exon 1b-exon 2 alternatively spliced mRNA. The 2 exons 1 are closely located, and the MADH2 mRNAs are transcribed from two promoters in one CpG island. The promoter activity in the 5' upstream sequence was confirmed by the luciferase assay. The 3' end of the mRNA is heterogenous, and we found several polyadenylation signals. Northern blot analysis revealed high expression of the MADH2 mRNA, e.g., in skeletal muscle, heart, and placenta. RT-PCR assay using primers in exons 2 and 4 and direct nucleotide sequencing proved that exon 3 is spliced out in about 10% of MADH2 in human placenta. These data will be valuable for studying the MADH2 function in both normal cells and cancer cells.