Two novel human genes encoding putative potassium channels, kH1 and kH2, were identified from a human fetal brain cDNA library. Sequence analysis showed that kH1 and kH2 are homologous to rat IK8 and rat K13, respectively. The kH1 encodes a polypeptide of 495 amino acids, which shares 88% and 95% identity to IK8 at the nucleotide and amino acid level, respectively. The kH2 encodes a polypeptide of 515 amino acids with 86% and 92% identity to K13 at the nucleotide and amino acid level, respectively. Northern blot studies revealed that one mRNA species, approximately 5kb, of the kH1 was expressed abundantly in tissues examined, including the heart, skeletal muscle, and less abundant in the brain, liver, kidney, and pancreas. Interestingly, an alternative spliced form of 2.4 kb mRNA species of the kH1 was also found in the brain. Unlike kH1, 2.4 kb of kH2 was expressed predominantly in the brain, placenta, and the skeletal muscle where it shared a differently spliced form of the kH2 mRNA, approximately 2.0 kb. Fluorescence in situ hybridization localized kH1 to the human chromosome 2p25 and kH2 to the human chromosome 20q13.