We have cloned two 1·6 kb cDNAs encoding variants of the POU-type pituitary-specific transcription factor Pit-1 from Atlantic salmon. Sequence comparison with mammalian Pit-1 revealed that the POU domain was highly similar while flanking regions were less conserved. The N-terminal region contained three insertions relative to mammalian Pit-1, one of these corresponded to the insertion found in the alternatively spliced Pit-1a isoform. While two different salmon Pit-1 transcripts were expressed, alternative splicing in the 5′-region did not appear to contribute to further transcript diversity. Both salmon Pit-1 cDNAs encoded 39·5 kDa proteins that specifically bind a consensus Pit-1 recognition sequence in vitro. The salmon Pit-1 proteins also recognized the classical octamer motif; however, a point mutation in the POU homeodomain abolished this interaction.