The complete structure of the human gene for 92-kDa type IV collagenase was determined. Two overlapping genomic clones spanning 26 kilobases (kb) of genomic DNA were shown to contain the entire 7.7-kb structural gene together with 15 and 3.5 kb of 5'-end and 3'-end flanking regions, respectively. The 92-kDa type IV collagenase gene contains 13 exons as does the 72-kDa type IV collagenase gene. All intron locations of the 92-kDa enzyme gene coincided with intron locations in the 72-kDa enzyme gene. Exons 5, 6, and 7 which were 174, 174, and 177 base pairs long, respectively, each encoded one complete internal repeat which resembles the collagen-binding domains of fibronectin. The sequence coding for a unique 48-residue segment in the 92-kDa type IV collagenase that has no counterpart in other metalloproteinases was not present in a separate exon, but was contained in exon 9 which also codes for sequences with homology to the other metalloproteinases. The initiation site for transcription was determined by primer extension analysis. Sequencing analysis of 599 base pairs of the 5'-end flanking region showed that the promoter does not have a TATA motif, but a TTAAA sequence at position -29 to -25. A CAAT motif was not observed but there was one GC box. Two putative 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA) response elements, that might serve as binding sites for the transcription factor AP-1 and a consensus sequence of a transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) inhibitory element were found in the promoter region. Gelatinase assay of enzyme secreted by cultured human fibrosarcoma cells (HT-1080) revealed only low levels of 92-kDa type IV collagenase activity, whereas considerable activity of the 72-kDa enzyme was present. Northern hybridization analysis confirmed these findings. Treatment of the HT-1080 cells with TPA resulted in induction of the secretion of 92-kDa type IV collagenase activity. This induction could not be significantly inhibited by concomitant incubation with TGF-β1. TPA and TGF-β1 did not markedly affect the activities of the 72-kDa enzyme. The activities of the secreted 92- and 72-kDa enzymes by HT-1080 cells correlated with the amounts of mRNA as estimated by Northern analyses.