PR-39 is a porcine 39-aa peptide antibiotic composed of 49% proline and 24% arginine, with an activity against Gram-negative bacteria comparable to that of tetracycline. In Escherichia coli, it inhibits DNA and protein synthesis. PR-39 was originally isolated from pig small intestine, but subsequent cDNA cloning showed that the gene is expressed in the bone marrow. The open reading frame of the clone showed that PR-39 is made as 173-aa precursor whose proregion belongs to the cathelin family. The PR39 gene, which is rather compact and spans only 1784 bp has now been sequenced. The coding information is split into four exons. The first exon contains the signal sequence of 29 residues and the first 37 residues of the cathelin propart. Exons 2 and 3 contain only cathelin information, while exon 4 codes for the four C-terminal cathelin residues and the mature PR-39 peptide extended by three residues. The sequenced upstream region (1183 bp) contains four potential recognition sites for NF-IL6 and three for APRF, transcription factors known to regulate genes for both cytokines and acute phase response factors. Genomic hybridizations revealed a fairly high level of restriction fragment length polymorphism and indicated that there are at least two copies of the PR39 gene in the pig genome. PR39 was mapped to pig chromosome 13 by linkage and in situ hybridization mapping. The gene for the human peptide antibiotic FALL-39 (also a member of the cathelin family) was mapped to human chromosome 3, which is homologous to pig chromosome 13.