A novel antigen recognized by serum from a scleroderma patient was identified by expression cloning from the HeLa cell cDNA library. The cloned cDNA encoded a 374-amino acid protein with a relative molecular mass of 47,000 and a predicted amino acid sequence 62.7% identical to the hypothetical protein of Caenorhabditis elegans, T16H12.5. The deduced amino acid sequence had a typical POZ domain and an unidentified region conserved during evolution. No zinc finger or RNA recognition motifs were found in this clone. The 2 kbp mRNA encoding the novel clone SPOP (speckle-type POZ protein) was found to be expressed in all human tissues examined. HA-tagged SPOP, transfected and overexpressed in COS7 cells, exhibited a discrete speckled pattern in the nuclei and was co-localized with the splicing factor, snRNP B'/B. Deletion analysis revealed that both the POZ domain and the evolutionarily conserved region at the amino-terminus are required for the nuclear speckled accumulation of SPOP.