Inducibility of the mouse gene imap38 in the spleen has been recently described to correlate with resistance to Plasmodium chabaudi malaria. Here, we characterize the human ortholog gene himap1. The HIMAP1 34 kDa protein is localizable at the endoplasmic reticulum in transfected cells. It contains a GTP-binding domain, but it does not bind GTP, in contrast to mouse IMAP38. The himap1 gene belongs to a gene family clustered on chromosome 7q32-36 within a region highly syntenic to the mouse imap38 locus on chromosome 6B. The himap genes 1, 2, 3, and 4 display a conserved intron/exon structure. The mRNA of the himap1 gene is predominantly expressed in the spleen, in lymph nodes to a lesser extent, and only at very low levels in diverse cancer cell lines. In accordance, imap-like genes in mice and plants are associated with proliferative and apoptotic events suggesting a role in the control of cell death/survival.