Chromosomal translocations involving band 3q27 are the recently described nonrandom cytogenetic abnormalities in B-cell malignancies. We have previously cloned the breakpoint region of 3q27, designated as the BCL5 locus, from the B-cell line carrying the t(3;22). The cDNA for the BCL5 gene was cloned from the human liver cDNA library. The nucleotide sequencing analysis showed that the BCL5 gene encodes a potential transcription factor containing six repeats of the Cys2-His2 zinc-finger motif resembling the Drosophila segmentation gene Kruppel. The calculated molecular weight was 78.8 kD, which was supported by an in vitro transcription and translation experiment. A part of the sequence was essentially identical to that of a genomic fragment, ZNF51, previously reported to be located at 3qter. The translocation occurred in the 5′ region of the BCL5 gene, and the protein-coding exons were fused to the Ig-lambda gene in a head-to-head configuration in the cell line carrying t(3;22). The BCL5 cDNA probe detected a major transcript of 3.8 kb in Burkitt's lymphoma cell lines and an aberrant transcript in the t(3;22) cell line, whereas no transcript was detected in myeloid, monocytoid, erythroid, T-lymphoid, and Epstein-Barr virus- immortalized B-lymphoblastoid cell lines.