A 72 kilobase pair DNA fragment that contains the mouse phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) gene locus, pck1, was isolated from a genomic bacterial artificial chromosome library. The region from approximately -5.5 to +6.6 kilobase pairs relative to the pck1 transcription start site was sequenced and exhibits a high degree of homology to the rat and human genes. Additionally, the chromatin structure of the PEPCK gene in mouse liver resembles that seen in rat. Backcross panel analysis of a microsatellite sequence confirms that the gene is located on chromosome 2. Hypersensitive site analysis was performed on nuclei isolated from the adipocyte cell line 3T3-F442A in the preadipose and adipose states. Several hypersensitive sites are present in the undifferentiated 3T3-F442A cells, before PEPCK mRNA is detected. The same sites are present after differentiation, however, the sensitivity of mHS 3 increases relative to the others. We conclude that the chromatin is open in 3T3-F442A cells and that factors are able to bind in the undifferentiated state but that something else is required for transcription.