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We have found a novel cDNA encoding a 265 amino acid protein possessing a WW domain in our full-length cDNA bank. The WW domain was sandwiched between an acidic region and an acidic-basic amino acid repetitive region. In vitro transcription/translation of the cDNA produced a 38 kDa product that was also found in the cell lysate by western blot analysis. Thus this protein is named the nuclear protein containing a WW domain with a molecular mass of 38 kDa, Npw38. Immunofluorescence studies and expression of a fusion protein to a green fluorescent protein revealed that this protein is localized in the nucleus. Npw38 was shown to be capable of binding to a poly(rG) resin. Interestingly, the WW domain of Npw38 was found to function as a transcriptional activator in CHO cells using the GAL4 DNA-binding fusion system. Furthermore, the WW domains of human YAP and Pin1 were demonstrated to have a similar transcription-promoting activity. Combined mutation of the conserved first and second Trp residues and a hydrophobic triplet of TyrTyrTrp in the WW domain of Npw38 abolished the transcription-promoting activity, but single mutations of these sites did not. These results suggest that some WW domains potentially possess transcription-promoting activity in mammalian cells.