cAMP is important for the initiation of mammalian sperm motility. Previously we established that a type II cAMP-dependent protein kinase is tightly associated with the fibrous sheath of rat sperm. This unique cytoskeletal structure surrounds the 9+2 axonemal network in the principal piece of the flagellum. Association of the kinase to the fibrous sheath is mediated via its regulatory subunit, RII. An RII-binding overlay procedure was used to document that RII could specifically associate with fibrous sheath polypeptides of 120 and 80 kDa. In this study, we report the cloning of a rat testis-specific, developmentally regulated, RII-binding protein (TAKAP-80). A 1.2-kb cDNA clone, isolated by screening a rat testis expression library with 32P-labeled RII, hybridized to a 1.8-kb mRNA transcript present exclusively in testis. This transcript appeared at detectable levels at 30 days after birth. Over the next 10 days the mRNA levels increased greatly. This time interval corresponds to the initiation of spermiogenesis. The complete nucleotide sequence of TAKAP-80 cDNA was obtained by polymerase chain reaction and contained a continuous open reading frame of 502 amino acids. The deduced amino acid sequence showed a clear demarcation of charged and hydrophobic amino acid residues. Amino acids 1-147 of the protein contained 45% charged residues, with lysine and arginine predominating. Similarly, amino acids 268-502 also contained a high percentage of charged amino acids (35%). In contrast, amino acids 148-267 were mostly hydrophobic and contained clusters of a repeating PXXP motif where X was predominantly valine and alanine or sometimes proline. The 1.2-kb cDNA clone was inserted into the pRSET vector and expressed as a His6 tag fusion protein in Escherichia coli. The recombinant protein was soluble and bound RIIalpha, RIIbeta and type IIalpha holoenzyme by the RII-binding overlay procedure. Deletion analysis revealed that the high-affinity interaction site for RII was contained within amino acids 258-378 of TAKAP-80. Antibodies prepared against the fusion protein recognized an 80-kDa protein present in the urea-insoluble particulate fraction of rat testis and in purified fibrous sheath preparations isolated from rat epididymal sperm. Levels of the 80-kDa immunoreactive protein were significantly higher in mature (60 days old) compared with immature (30 days old) rat testis, correlating with the mRNA levels.