The mammalian Ca2+-dependent serine protease prohormone convertase PC8 is expressed ubiquitously, being transcribed as 3.5, 4.3 and 6.0 kb mRNA isoforms in various tissues. To determine the origin of these various mRNA isoforms we report the characterization of the human PC8 gene, which has been previously localized to chromosome 11q23-24. Consisting of 16 exons, the human PC8 gene spans approx. 27 kb. A comparison of the position of intron-exon junctions of the human PC8 gene with the gene structures of previously reported prohormone convertase genes demonstrated a divergence of the human PC8 from the highly conserved nature of the gene organization of this enzyme family. The nucleotide sequence of the 5'-flanking region of the human PC8 is reported and possesses putative promoter elements characteristic of a GC-rich promoter. Further supporting the potential role of a GC-rich promoter element, multiple transcriptional initiation sites within a 200 bp region were demonstrated. We propose that the various mRNA isoforms of PC8 result from the inclusion of intronic sequences within transcripts.