Zinc fingers are DNA-binding domains present in several eukaryotic regulatory proteins. We have identified a mouse gene, Krox-20, encoding a protein with three zinc fingers and whose expression is activated during G0/G1 transition in cultured cells. Serum stimulation of quiescent cells leads to rapid and transient accumulation of Krox-20 mRNA, with kinetics similar to those of the c-fos proto-oncogene. The induction does not require de-novo protein synthesis. In the mouse, Krox-20 is expressed at low levels in tissues which contain rapidly dividing cells. These properties suggest that Krox-20 encodes a transcription control factor, possibly involved in the modulation of cell proliferation.