Comparison of human and mouse genomic sequence at the border of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II and class III regions revealed a locus encoding six exons with homology to the butyrophilin gene family and the location of a previously described gene, testis-specific basic protein (TSBP). We named the new locus BTL-II, for butyrophilin-like MHC class II associated. The six discernable exons of the BTL-II locus encode a small hydrophobic amino acid sequence (which may be a signal peptide), two immunoglobulin domains, a small 7-amino acid, heptad repeat-like exon, and a further two immunoglobulin domains. In mouse, an additional butyrophilin-like gene (NG10) is situated adjacent to BTL-II. Expression studies of the BTL-II locus in mouse showed that it is expressed in a range of gut tissues. We demonstrate that like many other genes from the MHC, BTL-II is polymorphic in a selection of diverse HLA haplotypes. In the light of the newly discovered locus, we revisit and discuss the possible origin of the butyrophilin gene family.