GATA-3 is a master transcription factor of the Th2 cells. We have identified GATA-3 cDNA and its splice variant in Atlantic cod. Cod GATA-3 (GmGATA-3) has a 1320 bp open reading frame encoding a polypeptide of 440 amino acids with two zinc finger domains that are well conserved within teleosts and higher vertebrates. The GATA-3 cDNA splice variant without zinc finger domains was shown to contain an 828 bp open reading frame encoding a polypeptide of 276 amino acids. Both GATA-3 proteins fused with RFP-tag were identified in or close to the nuclei 48 h after the plasmids were transfected in CHSE-214 cells. The full length GATA-3 with two zinc finger domains has a transcriptional function confirmed by transfection with GATA-3 reporter vector along with expression constructs of GATA-3 plasmids in CHSE-214 cells, whereas the GATA-3 splice variant without zinc finger domain did not enhance the activity of the GATA-3 reporter vector, and no interference was found between these two GATA-3 variants. RT-PCR analysis revealed that the two Atlantic cod GATA-3 variants were strongly expressed in the gills and infection with live Vibrio anguillarum induced the spleen expression of both GmGATA-3L and GmGATA-3S. Unexpectedly, PMA increased the expression of the GATA-3 splice variant in vivo and especially in vitro, with an increase of more than 100,000-fold in head kidney leukocytes at 24 and 48 h. On the other hand, there were no significant increases at the transcript level of full length GATA-3 between Poly I:C and β-glucan treatment groups compared to controls.