Anti-CV2-autoantibodies from patients with paraneoplastic neurological syndromes were used to purify protein(s) related to this disease. A novel cDNA, c-22, was obtained by PCR with primers based on amino-acid sequence of peptides obtained from this protein and rat brain cDNA as template. The deduced amino-acid sequence of c-22 shows homology to the Unc-33 gene from C. elegans in which mutations lead to defects in neuritic outgrowth and axonal guidance and cause uncoordinated movements of the nematode. Several consensus sites for putative protein kinase C phosphorylation were found, suggesting that the c-22 gene product may be a phosphoprotein. Northern hybridizations show that the apparently unique 3.8-kb mRNA of c-22 is present in rat brain tissue and its expression is developmentally regulated: the levels of C-22 mRNA, detectable in brain at embryonic day 17 (E17), increase up to post-natal day 7 (P7) and decline rapidly to an almost undetectable level in adult.