The human major histocompatability complex contains genes of both immune and nonimmune importance. Recently, several genes encoding novel, non-HLA products have been described in this area. We have performed positional cloning of short fragment cDNA sequences from the class I region of the human MHC using a hybridization selection approach. This report describes isolation of full-length cDNA clones and partial genomic clones that encode a protein that contains two domains rich in cysteine and histidine similar to those characteristic of metal-dependent DNA binding proteins (C3HC4). The predicted protein also contains a domain thought to form a coiled-coil that may promote dimerization. A third feature is a polyglutamic acid region near the carboxyl terminus of the conceptual protein. Because of these properties, we have named this gene product acid finger protein (AFP). Although the biological role of AFP is unknown at present, one potential function is binding of nucleic acids. The gene (ZNF173) is expressed in multiple tissues and is conserved among mammals. In particular, the mouse and human coding regions are highly conserved. In addition to AFP, other related sequences have been localized to the MHC, suggesting that multiple AFP-like genes exist in this area.
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