BTB/POZ-domain C2H2 zinc(Zn)-finger proteins are encoded by a subfamily of genes related to the Drosophila gap gene kruppel. To date, two such proteins, PLZF and LAZ3/BCL-6, have been implicated in oncogenesis. We have now identified a new member of this gene subfamily which encodes a 62 kDa Zn-finger protein, termed LRF, with a BTB/POZ domain highly similar to that of PLZF. Both human and mouse LRF genes, which localized to syntenic chromosomal regions (19p13.3 and 10B5.3, respectively), were widely expressed in adult tissues and cell lines. At approximately 9.5-10.0 days of embryonic development, the mouse LRF gene was expressed in the limb buds, pharyngeal arches, tail bud, placenta and neural tube. The LRF protein associated in vivo with LAZ-3/BCL-6, but not with PLZF to which it was more related. Although the LRF, or LAZ-3/BCL-6, BTB/POZ domain could readily homodimerize, no heterodimerization was detected in vivo between the LRF and LAZ-3/BCL-6 BTB/POZ domains and interaction between full length LRF and LAZ-3/BCL-6 required the presence of both the BTB/POZ domain and Zn-fingers in each partner protein. As expected from the above results, LRF and LAZ3/BCL-6 also colocalized with each other in the nucleus. Taken together, our findings suggest that BTB/POZ-domain Zn-finger proteins may function as homo and heterodimeric complexes whose formation, and hence the resultant effect on transcription of their downstream target genes, is determined by the levels and expression domains of a given partner protein.