The lymphokine Interleukin 4 (IL-4) is secreted by antigen or mitogen activated T lymphocytes. IL-4 stimulates activation and differentiation of B lymphocytes and growth of T lymphocytes and mast cells. The authors isolated the human IL-4 gene from a lambda EMBL3 genomic library. As a probe they used a synthetic oligonucleotide spanning position 40 to 79 of the published IL-4 cDNA sequence. The 5' promoter region contains several sequence elements which may have a cis-acting regulatory function for IL-4 gene expression. These elements include a TATA-box, three CCAAT-elements (two are on the non-coding strand) and an octamer motif. A comparison of the 5' flanking region of the human murine IL-4 gene (4) shows that the region between position -306 and +44 is highly conserved (83% homology).