A novel dendritic cell (DC) surface molecule termed F4/80-like-receptor (FIRE) has been selected based on its differential expression between DC subsets. The gene encoding FIRE has been cloned and sequenced, and mAbs specific for FIRE have been produced. FIRE is a seven-transmembrane-spanning molecule with two epidermal growth factor-like domains in the extracellular region. It is a novel member of the epidermal growth factor/transmembrane-7 protein subfamily and shows similarity to the macrophage marker F4/80. FIRE is expressed by CD8- DC, but not by CD8+ DC, and it is down-regulated on DC activation. It is expressed by blood monocytes and by some tissue macrophages, but not by most macrophage cell lines or by lymphoid cells. FIRE is a useful marker of myeloid cells with a DC developmental potential.