Overlapping cDNA clones for a novel human X-linked gene, XE169, have been isolated and characterized. The composite cDNA sequence comprises 5910 bp (or 5901 bp) plus a poly(A) tail, with a 531 bp 5' and 696 bp 3' untranslated regions. The sequence represents a full-length or near full-length cDNA for the gene since Northern blot analysis reveals only a single prominent band ∼ 6 kb in size. Alternative splicing generates two distinct transcripts either containing or missing a stretch of nine nucleotides in the XE169 single large open reading frame, which in turn predict two XE169 protein isoforms composed of 1557 and 1560 amino acids, respectively. Southern hybridization analysis of a panel of human - mouse somatic cell hybrids containing various portions of translocated human X chromosomes has assigned XE169 to the proximal half of the X short arm between Xp21.1 and the centromere. XE169 is expressed in multiple human tissues tested and homologous sequences exist on the human Y chromosome and in the genomes of five other eutherian mammals examined. RT-PCR analysis of somatic cell hybrids containing either an active or an inactive human X chromosome on a rodent background demonstrated that XE169 escapes X-inactivation.