We have identified and characterized the complete cDNA and gene for the mouse MutS homolog 5 (Msh5), as a step toward understanding the molecular genetic mechanisms involved in the biological function of this new MutS homologous protein in mammals. The Msh5 cDNA contains a 2502-bp open reading frame (ORF) that encodes an 833-amino acid protein with a predicted molecular weight of 92.6 kDa, which shares 89.8% amino acid sequence identity with the human hMSH5 protein. Northern blot analysis demonstrated the presence of a Msh5 mRNA approximately 2.9-kb in length, most abundantly expressed in mouse testis. Yeast two-hybrid analysis indicated that the mouse Msh5 protein positively interacted with the human hMSH4 protein-suggesting that Msh5 shares common functional properties with its human counterpart. Sequence and structural analyses show that the mouse gene Msh5 spans approximately 18 kb and contains 24 exons that range in length from 36 bp for exon 7 to 392 bp for exon 1. Structural comparison with the human hMSH5 gene revealed that all of the Msh5 internal exons, but not introns, are conserved in length with the human hMSH5. The Msh5 gene is located on mouse Chromosome (Chr) 17 in a location that is syntenic to the region of human Chr 6 harboring the hMSH5 gene. The identification and characterization of Msh5 will facilitate studies of the potential functional roles of this new member of the MutS family.