In an effort to understand the mechanisms governing the regulation of the mouse Ron receptor gene, a mouse genomic library was screened and overlapping clones coding for the Ron gene and flanking DNA were identified. Continuous DNA sequence was obtained for approximately 16.4 kilobases. The gene, from the initiator methionine to the polyadenylation site, is contained within 13 244 basepairs and contains 19 exons. Primer extension analyses were performed to determine the transcription start site of the mouse Ron transcript. Multiple transcription start sites were found which also appear to be used in transfected reporter constructs containing Ron 5' flanking DNA. To determine the location of sites which may be critical for the function of the Ron gene promoter, a series of chimeric genes containing serial deletions of the Ron gene promoter fused to the coding sequences for the chloramphenicol acetyl-transferase gene were constructed. Transient transfection analyses of these hybrid genes into various cell lines demonstrated that two regions of the Ron gene promoter, encompassing nucleotides -585 to -465 and from -465 to -285, are important for expression of this transcript in CMT-93 cells. Further analysis of the Ron promoter utilizing gel mobility shift analyses suggests that regions encompassing nucleotides -585 to - 508 and nucleotides -375 to -285 appear to bind specific proteins which may be involved in the negative and positive regulation, respectively, of the mouse Ron gene.