Exposure of mammalian cells to hypoxia, radiation and certain chemotherapeutic agents promotes cell cycle arrest and/or apoptosis. Activation of p53 responsive genes is believed to play an important role in mediating such responses. In this study we identified a novel gene, PA26, which maps to chromosome 6q21 and encodes at least three transcript isoforms, of which two are differentially induced by genotoxic stress (UV, gamma-irradiation and cytotoxic drugs) in a p53-dependent manner. A functional p53-responsive element was identified in the second intron of the PA26 gene, in consistance with a mechanism of transcriptional induction of the PA26 gene by p53. No clues to its functions were revealed by sequence analysis, although pronounced negative regulation by serum factors argues for a potential role of PA26 in growth regulation. Immunological analysis suggests that PA26 protein(s) is localized to the cell nucleus. Our results suggest that the PA26 gene is a novel p53 target gene with properties common to the GADD family of growth arrest and DNA damage-inducible stress-response genes, and, thus, a potential novel regulator of cellular growth.