Three clones for the human tumor antigen p54 were isolated from a cDNA library prepared from A431 cells. One of these clones, pR4-2, contains the entire coding region for human p53. This clone directs the synthesis of a polypeptide with the correct molecular weight and immunological epitopes of an authentic p53 molecule in an in vitro transcription-translation reaction. Although the pR4-2 clone contains the coding region for p53, it is not a full-length copy of the human p53 mRNA. Northern analysis showed that the p53 mRNA is approximately 2,500 nucleotides long, whereas the pR4-2 insert is only 1,760 base pairs in length. Analysis of the DNA sequence of this clone suggests that the human p53 polypeptide has 393 amino acids. We compared the predicted amino acid sequence of the pR4-2 clone with similar clones for the mouse p53 and found long regions of amino acid homology between these two molecules.