We describe the cloning of p63, a gene at chromosome 3q27-29 that bears strong homology to the tumor suppressor p53 and to the related gene, p73. p63 was detected in a variety of human and mouse tissues, including proliferating basal cells of epithelial layers in the epidermis, cervix, urothelium, and prostate. Unlike p53, the p63 gene encodes multiple isotypes with remarkably divergent abilities to transactivate p53 reporter genes and induce apoptosis. Importantly, the predominant p63 isotypes in many epithelial tissues lack an acidic N terminus corresponding to the transactivation domain of p53. We demonstrate that these truncated p63 variants can act as dominant-negative agents toward transactivation by p53 and p63, and we suggest the possibility of physiological interactions among members of the p53 family.