We determined the nucleotide sequence, mapped the 5' and 3' mRNA termini, and examined the regulation of the RAD2 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A long open reading frame within the RAD2 transcribed region encodes a protein of 1,031 amino acids with a calculated molecular weight of 117,847. A disruption of the RAD2 gene that deletes the 78 carboxyl terminal codons results in loss of RAD2 function. The 5' ends of RAD2 mRNA show considerable heterogeneity, mapping 5 to 62 nucleotides upstream of the first ATG codon of the long RAD2 open reading frame. The longest RAD2 transcripts also contain a short open reading frame of 37 codons that precedes and overlaps the 5' end of the long RAD2 open reading frame. The RAD2 3' mRNA end maps 171 nucleotides downstream of the TAA termination codon and 20 nucleotides downstream from a 12-base-pair inverted repeat that might function in transcript termination. Northern blot analysis showed a ninefold increase in steady-state levels of RAD2 mRNA after treatment of yeast cells with UV light. The 5' flanking region of the RAD2 gene contains several direct and inverted repeats and a 44-nucleotide-long purine-rich tract. The sequence T G G A G G C A T T A A found at position -167 to -156 in the RAD2 gene is similar to a sequence present in the 5' flanking regions of the RAD7 and RAD10 genes.