Differential display technique was applied to a pair of cell lines derived from human breast carcinoma cell line MDA-MB 435 with metastatic and non-metastatic properties in the nude mouse system, with the objective to isolate genes involved in metastasis. DRIM (Down-Regulated In Metastasis) was the only gene found to be differentially expressed in this system. DRIM encodes a protein comprising 2785 amino acids with significant homology to a protein in yeast and C. elegans. The protein contains a conserved positively charged tail and several HEAT repeats, designated after four functionally characterized proteins in which the repeat was detected. Most of the hydrophobic regions of DRIM can be assigned to HEAT repeats. Expression of DRIM at the RNA level was investigated in several normal tissues and tumor cell lines.