The cell cycle regulation of the glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH)/uracil DNA glycosylase (UDG) gene was examined in normal human cells. Steady state RNA levels were monitored by Northern blot analysis using a plasmid (pChug 20.1) which contained the 1.3 kb GAPDH/UDG cDNA. The biosynthesis of the 37 kDa GAPDH/UDG protein was determined using an anti-human placental GAPDH/UDG monoclonal antibody to immunoprecipitate the radiolabeled protein. Increases in steady state GAPDH/UDG mRNA levels were cell cycle specific. A biphasic pattern was observed resulting in a 19-fold increase in the amount of GAPDH/UDG mRNA. The biosynthesis of the 37 kDa GAPDH/UDG protein displayed a similar biphasic regulation with a 7-fold increase. Pulse-chase experiments revealed a remarkably short half life of less than 1 hr. for the newly synthesized 37 kDa protein, comparable to that previously documented for a number of oncogenes. GAPDH/UDG mRNA levels were markedly reduced at 24 hr. when DNA synthesis was maximal. These results define the GAPDH/UDG gene as cell cycle regulated with a characteristic temporal sequence of expression in relation to DNA synthesis. The cell cycle synthesis of a labile 37 kDa monomer suggests a possible regulatory function for this multidimensional protein. Further, modulation of the GAPDH/UDG gene in the cell cycle may preclude its use as a reporter gene when the proliferative state of the cell is not kept constant.