Human Fas/Apo-1 is a cell-surface protein that mediates apoptosis upon ligation with Fas ligand. The gene lies on the long arm of chromosome 10, consists of nine exons, and spans more than 26 kb of DNA. We previously reported the presence of a Fas variant mRNA, designated as FasΔTM, in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. FasΔTM is generated by alternative splicing of the intact exon 6, which encodes the Fas transmembrane domain. In the present study, we describe three novel forms of Fas mRNA that are generated by alternative splicing of exons 3, 4, 6 and 7. These three mRNA variants undergo a frameshift and produce truncated polypeptides because of the appearance of a stop codon in the altered open reading frame. On activation of the peripheral blood mononuclear cells, a decreased expression of alternatively spliced Fas mRNA species correlated with increased cell-surface expression of Fas. These results suggest that differential expression of alternatively spliced Fas mRNAs may play a role in regulation of Fas function via regulation of the production of the membrane-bound and the soluble, secreted Fas protein products.