We have isolated and characterized rat cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase (PDE)11A, which exhibits properties of a dual-substrate PDE, and its splice variants (RNPDE11A2, RNPDE11A3, and RNPDE11A4). The deduced amino-acid sequence of the longest form of rat PDE11A splice variant, RNPDE11A4, was 94% identical with that of the human variant (HSPDE11A4). Rat PDE11A splice variants were expressed in a tissue-specific manner. RNPDE11A4 showed unique tissue distribution distinct from HSPDE11A4, which is specifically expressed in the prostate. Rat PDE11A splice variants were expressed in COS-7 cells, and their enzymatic characteristics were compared. Although the Km values for cAMP and cGMP were similar for all of them (1.3-1.6 and 2.1-3.9 microM, respectively), the Vmax values differed significantly (RNPDE11A4 >> RNPDE11A2 > RNPDE11A3). Human PDE11A variants also displayed very similar Km values and significantly different Vmax values (HSPDE11A4 >> HSPDE11A2 > HSPDE11A3 >> HSPDE11A1). The Vmax values of HSPDE11A4 for cAMP and cGMP were at least 100 times higher than those of HSPDE11A1. These observations indicate unique characteristics of PDE11A splicing variants.