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Oncostatin M is a polypeptide of Mr approximately 28,000 that acts as a growth regulator for many cultured mammalian cells. We report the cDNA and genomic cloning, sequence analysis, and functional expression in heterologous cells of oncostatin M. cDNA clones were isolated from mRNA of U937 cells that had been induced to differentiate into macrophagelike cells by treatment with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, and a genomic clone was also isolated from human brain DNA. Sequence analysis of these clones established the 1,814-base-pair cDNA sequence as well as exon boundaries. This sequence predicted that oncostatin M is synthesized as a 252-amino-acid polypeptide, with a 25-residue hydrophobic sequence resembling a signal peptide at the N terminus. The predicted oncostatin M amino acid sequence shared no homology with other known proteins, but the sequence of the 3' noncoding region of the cDNA contained an A + T-rich stretch with sequence motifs found in the 3' untranslated regions of many cytokine and lymphokine cDNAs. Oncostatin M mRNA of approximately 2 kilobase pairs was detected in phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate-treated U937 cells and in activated human T cells. Transfection of cDNA encoding the oncostatin M precursor into COS cells resulted in the secretion of proteins with the structural and functional properties of oncostatin M. The unique amino acid sequence, expression by lymphoid cells, and growth-regulatory activities of oncostatin M suggest that it is a novel cytokine.