Using a specific monoclonal antibody (mAb AND-1/23-5-14) we have identified, cDNA-cloned and characterized a novel DNA-binding protein of the clawed toad, Xenopus laevis, that is accumulated in the nucleoplasm of oocytes and various other cells. This protein comprises 1,127 amino acids, with a total molecular mass of 125 kDa and a pI of 5.27. It is encoded by a mRNA of approximately 4 kb and contains, in addition to clusters of acidic amino acids, two hallmark motifs: the amino-terminal part harbours seven consecutive ‘WD-repeats’, which are sequence motifs of about 40 amino acids that are characteristic of a large group of regulatory proteins involved in diverse cellular functions, while the carboxy terminal portion possesses a 63-amino-acid-long ‘HMG-box’, which is typical of a family of DNA-binding proteins involved in regulation of chromatin assembly, transcription and replication. The DNA-binding capability of the protein was demonstrated by DNA affinity chromatography and electrophoretic mobility shift assays using four-way junction DNA. Protein AND-1 (acidic nucleoplasmic DNA-binding protein) appears as an oligomer, probably a homodimer, and has been localized throughout the entire interchromatinic space of the interphase nucleoplasm, whereas during mitosis it is transiently dispersed over the cytoplasm. We also identified a closely related, perhaps orthologous protein in mammals. The unique features of protein AND-1, which is a ‘natural chimera’ combining properties of the WD-repeat and the HMG-box families of proteins, are discussed in relation to its possible nuclear functions.