We have identified a protein motif, related to the zinc finger, which defines a newly discovered family of proteins. The motif was found in the sequence of the human RING1 gene, which is proximal to the major histocompatibility complex region on chromosome six. We propose naming this motif the "RING finger" and it is found in 27 proteins, all of which have putative DNA binding functions. We have synthesized a peptide corresponding to the RING1 motif and examined a number of properties, including metal and DNA binding. We provide evidence to support the suggestion that the RING finger motif is the DNA binding domain of this newly defined family of proteins.