The CT/GC-rich region (-76 to -47) is one transcriptional regulatory region of the interleukin-3 (IL-3) gene which confers basic transcriptional activity and responds to trans-activation by human T-cell leukemia virus type I-encoded Tax. We isolated three types of cDNAs encoding Cys2/His2-type zinc finger proteins that bind to this region. Two were identical to known transcription factors, EGR1 and EGR2, and the other clone, named DB1, encoded a novel protein of 516 amino acids with six zinc finger motifs. DB1 mRNA was present in human tissues, ubiquitously. Two constitutive transcripts of 4.0 and 4.8 kb in length were present in Jurkat cells. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay, with specific antibodies, showed that DB1 constitutively binds to this region whereas EGR1 binds in a T-cell activation-dependent manner. Overexpression of DB1 in Jurkat cells had no detectable effect on the transcription activity of the IL-3 promoter, in a transient-transfection assay. EGR1 and EGR2 increased IL-3 promoter activity when the transfected cells were stimulated with phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate and A23187. When DB1 was cotransfected with a Tax expression vector, transcription activity of the IL-3 promoter induced by Tax was significantly increased, while EGR1 and EGR2 were without effect. These results suggest that EGR1 has a role in inducible transcription of the IL-3 gene, while DB1 sustains basal transcriptional activity and also cooperates with Tax to activate the IL-3 promoter.