The human mannose-binding protein (MBP) plays a role in first line host defense against certain pathogens. It is an acute phase protein that exists in serum as a multimer of a 32-kD subunit. The NH2 terminus is rich in cysteines that mediate interchain disulphide bonds and stabilize the second collagen-like region. This is followed by a short intervening region, and the carbohydrate recognition domain is found in the COOH-terminal region. Analysis of the human MBP gene reveals that the coding region is interrupted by three introns, and all four exons appear to encode a distinct domain of the protein. It appears that the human MBP gene has evolved by recombination of an ancestral nonfibrillar collagen gene with a gene that encodes carbohydrate recognition, and is therefore similar to the human surfactant SP-A gene and the rat MBP gene. The gene for MBP is located on the long arm of chromosome 10 at 10q11.2-q21, a region that is included in the assignment for the gene for multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2A.