Cellular cholesterol metabolism is regulated primarily through sterol-mediated feedback suppression of the activity of the low-density lipoprotein receptor and several enzymes of the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway. We previously described the cloning of a rabbit cDNA for the oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP), a cytosolic protein of 809 amino acids that may participate in these regulatory events. We now use the rabbit OSBP cDNA to clone the human OSBP cDNA and 5' genomic region. Comparison of the human and rabbit OSBP sequences revealed a remarkably high degree of conservation. The cDNA sequence in the coding region showed 94% identity between the two species, and the predicted amino acid sequence showed 98% identity. The human cDNA was used to determine the chromosomal localization of the OSBP gene by Southern blot hybridization to panels of somatic cell hybrid clones containing subsets of human or mouse chromosomes and by RFLP analysis of recombinant inbred mouse strains. The OSBP locus mapped to the long arm of human chromosome 11 and the proximal end of mouse chromosome 19. Along with previously mapped genes including Ly-1 and CD20, OSBP defines a new conserved syntenic group on the long arm of chromosome 11 in the human and the proximal end of chromosome 19 in the mouse.