The B29 gene encodes a B-cell-specific membrane protein in the immunoglobulin antigen receptor complex. B29 is a crucial member of this receptor complex and is believed to function as an effector of signal transduction in a manner analogous to that of the CD3 components of the T cell antigen receptor. We have isolated a full-length human B29 cDNA clone by using a murine B29 cDNA probe. We show that there is an extremely high degree of evolutionary conservation between the human and mouse proteins, particularly in the transmembrane and intracytoplasmic regions, where the identity is 96%. In addition, the intracytoplasmic region in both proteins contains an identical peptide motif that is present in a number of molecules involved in lymphocyte activation. Genomic Southern blot analysis of human cell lines hybridized with both murine and human B29 cDNAs gives patterns consistent with a single-copy gene occupying a small region of the genomic sequence. Using human B29 cosmid DNA, we have localized the B29 gene to human chromosome 17q23 via fluorescence in situ hybridization. B29 is the first gene localized to this area of the genome. Interestingly, a subset of human B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemias (CLL) has translocations in this locus on chromosome 17.