Construction of a transcript map in the DXS52 region in Xq28 had previously led to the isolation of a cDNA with a LIM zinc finger domain in the carboxyl terminus. In parallel, the orthologous murine transcript was isolated from the syntenic region. The human and mouse cDNAs have been designated ZNF185 and Zfp185, respectively. By integrating the cDNA sequence with the cosmid-derived genomic sequence the exon-intron structure of the 3' end of the ZNF185 gene was resolved. Comparative sequence analyses of the human genomic sequence with the full-length murine cDNA facilitated prediction of the 5' end of the gene. The selective expression of three transcripts corresponding to the ZNF185 gene and a related gene was shown by Northern and Southern blots. In situ hybridizations revealed a nonubiquitous and stage-specific expression of Zfp185, especially in differentiating connective tissue. Since LIM proteins regulate cellular proliferation and/or differentiation by diverse mechanisms, and some have directly been associated with disease, conceivably ZNF185 may represent a candidate for a disease-causing gene linked to Xq28. Knowledge of the genomic structure will permit detailed mutation analyses.