Pores formed in the outer membrane of mitochondria by mitochondrial porin make it permeable to water-soluble metabolites smaller than ~5 kDa. We have isolated a full-length cDNA encoding a human porin. This probe detects a single ~1.5-kilobase mRNA species on Northern blots, but multiple hybridizing bands on genomic Southern blots. The open reading frame predicts a 38.1-kDa protein with a pI of 6.59 that is homologous but not identical to a previously reported protein sequence of a 31-kDa porin isolated from human lymphocytes (porin 31HL). The most striking difference between the two porins is that the sequence predicted by the cDNA is longer than the 31HL porin by 27 amino acids at the amino terminus and 38 amino acids at the carboxyl terminus. The porin cDNA directs the in vitro translation of two protein species of ~32 and ~36 kDa, which appear to result from alternate usage of AUG initiation codons. The 32-kDa protein is the predominant species imported into both rat and yeast mitochondria in vitro. Taken together, these results suggest that multiple porin proteins can be expressed in humans. Additionally, a porin consensus protein sequence has been identified that is conserved in eukaryotic organisms as diverse as yeast and man.