The distal part of human chromosome 21q22.3 is exceptionally gene rich and contains several loci that have been linked to hereditary disorders. In the course of constructing an extensive transcript map for chromosome 21, we have isolated numerous coding segments in 21q22.3 that represent potential candidate genes in this region. Following this approach, we have cloned a novel single-copy gene (C21orf3) (HGMW-approved symbol C21orf1) expressed as a unique 2.69-kb mRNA in a wide range of tissues. We have precisely mapped C21orf3 by fiber FISH distal to marker D21S171. The C21orf3 gene encodes a predicted protein of 180 residues that does not share any sequence homology with other known proteins. C21orf3 harbors predicted structural features of a type Ia integral membrane protein and contains a tetrapeptide motif (YXRF) observed in several cell surface proteins involved in signal transduction. Although the function of C21orf3 is still unknown, this novel gene may play an important role in a cell trafficking mechanism.