Development of the vertebrate central nervous system is thought to be controlled by intricate cell-cell interactions and spatio-temporally regulated gene expressions. The details of these processes are still not fully understood. We have isolated a novel vertebrate gene, CRIM1/Crim1, in human and mouse. Human CRIM1 maps to chromosome 2p21 close to the Spastic Paraplegia 4 locus. Crim1 is expressed in the notochord, somites, floor plate, early motor neurons and interneuron subpopulations within the developing spinal cord. CRIM1 appears to be evolutionarily conserved and encodes a putative transmembrane protein containing an IGF-binding protein motif and multiple cysteine-rich repeats similar to those in the BMP-associating chordin and sog proteins. Our results suggest a role for CRIM1/Crim1 in CNS development possibly via growth factor binding.