The proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA, cyclin) was originally defined as a nuclear protein whose appearance correlated with the proliferative state of the cell. It is now known to be a co-factor of DNA polymerase delta and to be necessary for DNA synthesis and cell cycle progression. cDNA clones of human PCNA have been isolated and, using one of these cDNA, we have now obtained from a lambda phage library a clone containing the entire human PCNA gene and flanking sequences. The human PCNA gene is a unique copy gene and has 6 exons. It spans, from the cap site to the poly(A) signal 4961 base pairs. We have identified, in the 5'-flanking sequence, a region with promoter activity, a well as other structural elements common to other promoters. An interesting feature of the PCNA gene is the presence of extensive sequence similarities among introns and between introns and exons.