The kidney is a highly specialized organ with a complex, stereotyped architecture and a great diversity of functions and cell types. Because the microscopic organization of the nephron, the functional unit of the kidney, has a consistent relationship to the macroscopic anatomy of the kidney, knowledge of the characteristic patterns of gene expression in different compartments of the kidney could provide insight into the functions and functional organization of the normal nephron. We studied gene expression in dissected renal lobes of five adult human kidneys using cDNA microarrays representing ∼30,000 different human genes. Total RNA was isolated from sections of the inner and outer cortex, inner and outer medulla, papillary tips, and renal pelvis and from glomeruli isolated by sieving. The results revealed unique and highly distinctive patterns of gene expression for glomeruli, cortex, medulla, papillary tips, and pelvic samples. Immunohistochemical staining using selected antisera confirmed differential expression of several cognate proteins and provided histological localization of expression within the nephron. The distinctive patterns of gene expression in discrete portions of the kidney may serve as a resource for further understanding of renal physiology and the molecular and cellular organization of the nephron.