We have identified a novel human zinc finger protein, hFOG-2, which is related to but distinct from the murine transcription factor Friend-of-GATA- 1 (mFOG-1). The hFOG-2 gene was initially detected in K562 cells using a polymerase chain reaction approach with degenerate primers corresponding to zinc finger regions of mFOG-1. A murine homologue of hFOG-2 was also identified in the mouse expressed sequence tag data banks, indicating that a family of FOG genes exists in mammals. hFOG-2 appears to be widely expressed, while mFOG-1 is expressed primarily in erythroid and megakaryocytic cells and plays a fundamental role in the development of these lineages. Sequencing of the full-length hFOG-2 cDNA indicates that the interaction domains for transcription factors GATA-1 and mCtBP2 are both conserved and we have shown that this new FOG protein also physically interacts with these factors. We have demonstrated that hFOG-2, like mFOG-1, can act in concert with GATA-1 to activate gene expression from the p45 NF-E2 promoter region, but that it can also act to repress GATA-mediated activation of additional reporter constructs. Finally, we have identified a repression domain in hFOG-2 and show that repression is dependent upon the integrity of the mCtBP2 interaction motif Pro-Ile-Asp-Leu-Ser.