A cDNA encoding the regulatory subunit of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein phosphatase, calcineurin B (CNB), was isolated from a rat testis cDNA library. It differs from the cDNA obtained from a rat brain cDNA library by an addition of 138 base pairs in the coding region. The codon of the clone from a testis library corresponding to the initiation codon of the clone from a brain library is not ATG but AAG, 5'-noncoding regions of these cDNAs are also different. The addition in the coding region results in the gain of 46 amino acids at the N-terminus. These findings suggest that two distinct isoforms of CNB alpha are derived from the same gene through a process involving alternative utilization of two promoters. We designate the brain type isoform as CNB alpha 1 and the longer isoform as CNB alpha 2. Northern blot analysis and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) followed by Southern blot analysis suggest that CNB alpha 2 is specifically expressed in the testis, and its expression is developmentally regulated.