We have identified a novel human gene, designated C1orf10, using modified differential display PCR. The C1orf10 gene, which spans 5 kb in length, is composed of three exons. The deduced protein contains 495 amino acids with one transmembrane domain. The amino acid sequence of C1orf10 is characterized by the presence of a calcium-binding motif of about 90 amino acids at its N-terminal and a conserved consecutive repeat sequence of 60 amino acids that was identiffed previously only in bacterial ice nucleation proteins. In normal adult tissues, C1orf10 is highly expressed only in the esophagus and was undetectable in a total of 15 other tissues examined, suggesting its important role in esophageal cells. The expression of C1orf10 is either dramatically reduced or absent in esophageal cancer cell lines (3/3) as well as primary esophageal cancer tissues (35/37) compared with the corresponding normal esophageal mucosa. Using a radiation hybrid panel, C1orf10 was found to be located on chromosome 1q21. These findings suggest that expression of C1orf10 is unique to esophageal cells and that loss of its expression may play a role in the development of esophageal cancer. (C) 2000 Academic Press.