Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is a 100 kDa type II transmembrane protein with folate hydrolase and NAALAdase activity. PSMA is highly expressed in prostate cancer and the vasculature of most solid tumors, and is currently the target of a number of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. PSMA is also expressed in the brain, and is involved in conversion of the major neurotransmitter NAAG (N-acetyl-aspartyl glutamate) to NAA and free glutamate, the levels of which are disrupted in several neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia. To facilitate analysis of the role of PSMA in carcinoma we have determined the structural organization of the gene. The gene consists of 19 exons spanning approximately 60 kb of genomic DNA. A 1244 nt portion of the 5' region of the PSMA gene was able to drive the firefly luciferase reporter gene in prostate but not breast-derived cell lines. We have mapped the gene encoding PSMA to 11p11-p12, however a gene homologous, but not identical, to PSMA exists on chromosome 11q14. Analysis of sequence differences between non-coding regions of the two genes suggests duplication and divergence occurred 22 million years ago.