The HLA-Cw6 antigen has been associated with psoriasis vulgaris despite racial and ethnic differences. However, it remains unclear whether it is the HLA-Cw6 antigen itself or a closely linked, hitherto unidentified, locus that predisposes to the disease. Here, in order to map the susceptibility locus for psoriasis vulgaris precisely within the HLA class I region, 11 polymorphic microsatellite markers distributed throughout a 1060 kb segment surrounding the HLA-C locus were subjected to association analysis in Japanese psoriasis vulgaris patients. Statistical analyses of the distribution and deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium of the allelic frequency at each microsatellite locus revealed that the pathogenic gene for psoriasis vulgaris is located within a reduced interval of 111 kb spanning 89-200 kb telomeric of the HLA-C gene. In addition to three known genes, POU5F1, TCF19 and S, this 111 kb fragment contains four new, expressed genes identified in the course of our genomic sequencing of the entire HLA class I region. Therefore, these seven genes are the potential candidates for susceptibility to psoriasis vulgaris.