The human globin locus control region-binding protein, NF-E2, was purified by DNA affinity chromatography. Its tissue-specific component, p45 NF-E2, was cloned by use of a low-stringency library screen with murine p45 NF-E2 cDNA (N. C. Andrews, H. Erdjument-Bromage, M. B. Davidson, P. Tempst, and S. H. Orkin, Nature [London] 362:722-728,1993). The human p45 NF-E2 gene was localized to chromosome 12q13 by fluorescent in situ hybridization. Human p45 NF-E2 and murine p45 NF-E2 are highly homologous basic region-leucine zipper (bZIP) proteins with identical DNA-binding domains. Immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated that p45 NF-E2 is associated in vivo with an 18-kDa protein (p18). Because bZIP proteins bind DNA as dimers, we infer that native NF-E2 must be a heterodimer of 45- and 18-kDa subunits. Although AP-1 and CREB copurified with NF-E2, no evidence was found for heterodimer formation between p45 NF-E2 and proteins other than p18. Thus, p18 appears to be the sole specific partner of p45 NF-E2 in erythroid cells. Cloning of human p45 NF-E2 should permit studies of the role of NF-E2 in globin gene regulation and erythroid differentiation.