The human TAX-1 gene (HGMW-approved symbol TAX1) is located on chromosome 1 (1q32.1) and encodes the neuronal cell adhesion molecule TAG-1/axonin-1. The gene product, termed TAG-1 in the rat and axonin-1 in the chicken, is composed of six immunoglobulin (Ig)-like and four fibronectin type III (FNIII)-like domains. It is found predominantly on the axons of particular nerve fiber tracts during neural development, and it has been demonstrated to function as a potent substratum for neurite outgrowth in vitro. Here we report the cloning and structural characterization of the TAX-1 gene. The transcribed region of the TAX-1 gene extends over about 40 kb. Like its chicken homologue, the human TAX-1 gene consists of 23 exons. Two GT/CA microsatellites were localized in the first intron; a polymorphism was found for one of them. Reporter gene analysis with serially truncated fragments of the 5'-flanking region indicated that a 164-bp fragment located immediately upstream of the putative transcription initiation site was sufficient to function as a basal promoter.