The RAD18 gene of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae encodes a protein with ssDNA binding activity that interacts with the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme RAD6 and plays an important role in postreplication repair. We identified and characterized the putative mouse homolog of RAD18, designated mRAD18Sc. The mRAD18Sc open reading frame encodes a 509-amino-acid polypeptide that is strongly conserved in size and sequence between yeast and mammals, with specific conservation of the RING-zinc-finger and the classic zinc-finger domain. The degree of sequence conservation between mRAD18Sc, RAD18, and homologous sequences identified in other species (NuvA from Aspergillus nidulans and Uvs-2 from Neurospora crassa) is entirely consistent with the evolutionary relationship of these organisms, strongly arguing that these genes are one another's homologs. Consistent with the presence of a nuclear translocation signal in the amino acid sequence, we observed the nuclear localization of GFP-tagged mRAD18Sc after stable transfection to HeLa cells. mRNA expression of mRAD18Sc in the mouse was observed in thymus, spleen, brain, and ovary, but was most pronounced in testis, with the highest level of expression in pachytene-stage primary spermatocytes, suggesting that mRAD18Sc plays a role in meiosis of spermatogenesis. Finally, we mapped the mRAD18Sc gene on mouse chromosome 6F. (C) 2000 Academic Press.