Previously we identified a partial human cDNA for a novel cochlear transcript, hCoch-5B2 (HGMW-approved symbol D14S564E), using subtractive hybridization techniques. Herein we report isolation and characterization of both human and mouse (D12H14S564E) cDNAs for Coch-5B2. Full-length Coch5B2 deduced amino acid sequences reveal a very high degree of conservation in the coding region (89% nucleotide and 94% amino acid identity and a potential signal peptide and two regions of extensive homology to the collagen-binding type A domains of von Willebrand factor, also present in other secreted proteins, including extracellular matrix components. High levels of hCoch-5B2 expression are seen only in human fetal inner ear structures, cochlea, and vestibule, among a large panel of human fetal and adult tissues. Coch-5B2 expression in the mouse is more widespread than in the human, with message detected in mouse adult spleen, cerebrum, cerebellum/medulla, and thymus. In both species very low level expression is detected in total eye. More specifically, mouse retina shows a higher level of mCoch-5B2 message than sclera and choroid. We have mapped hCoch-5B2 to human 14q11.2-q13 by somatic cell hybrid analysis and FISH and, more precisely, using radiation hybrids to a region of markers linked to DFNA9, a nonsyndromic autosomal dominant sensorineural hearing loss with vestibular defects. Furthermore, we detect hCoch-5B2 on three overlapping YACs, two of which also contain one of the markers linked to DFNA9. mCoch-5B2 was genetically mapped in the mouse to chromosome 12, in a region of homologous synteny with human 14q11.2-q13, which contains the asp1 (audiogenic seizure prone) locus in the mouse.