A Plasmodium falciparum homologue of one of the components of a chromatin-remodelling complex which controls binding of transcription factors to nucleosome core particles has been cloned and characterized. The gene encodes 1422 amino acids with an estimated molecular mass of 167 kDa. The protein, SNF2L, shares 60% amino acid identity in its conserved DNA-dependent ATPase domain with yeast transcription factors originally identified by characterizing mating type switch mutants. It also contains sequences related to the so-called SWI3, ADA2, N-CoR and TFIIIB B' or SANT DNA binding domains which are characteristic of these transcriptional activation factors. The SNF2L gene has two short introns in the 3' region of the coding sequence of the gene and is transcribed into a single ~ 6.5 kb messenger RNA species which is present throughout the asexual stages of the cell cycle. Southern blotting and pulsed field gel electrophoresis experiments show that SNF2L is a single copy gene, located on P. falciparum chromosome 11.