Pfmap-1, a gene encoding a novel protein kinase, has been identified in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, using the polymerase chain reaction with degenerate oligodeoxyribonucleotides designed to hybridise to conserved regions of cdc2-related kinases. Computer comparison with other protein kinases strongly suggests that the protein encoded by this gene is closely related to mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases, which play important roles in eukaryotic adaptative response and signal transduction. In addition to the conserved MAP kinase catalytic domain, Pfmap-1 contains a highly charged C-terminal extension that includes two sets of repeated amino acid motifs. Pfmap-1 is located on chromosome 14 of P.falciparum, and its mRNA has a size of 3.7 kb.