We isolated cDNA clones for the novel actin-like proteins T-ACTIN 1 and T-ACTIN 2, which are expressed specifically in the mouse testis. These clones were from a subtracted cDNA library that was enriched for haploid germ cell-specific cDNAs. The mRNA sizes and deduced molecular masses of t-actin 1/mACTl7b and t-actin 2/mACTl7a were 2.2 kilobases (kb) and 1.8 kb, and Mr 43.1 x 10(3) and Mr 47.2 x 10(3), respectively. The two deduced amino acid sequences had 60% homology, and they had approximately 40% homology with other actins. The T-ACTINs contained some of the conserved regions seen in other actins. Although the cellular locations of these two proteins are quite different (T-ACTIN-1 was found in the cytoplasm and T-ACTIN-2 was located in the nucleus), the expression of their proteins and mRNAs is controlled during development and limited during spermiogenesis. In contrast, only T-ACTIN-2 was present in sperm heads and tails. These results suggest that T-ACTINs play important roles in sperm function and in the specific morphogenesis of spermatozoa during spermiogenesis.