A novel, brain-specific cDNA, denoted CROC-4, was cloned from human brain by a contingent replication of cDNA procedure capable of detecting transcriptional activators of the human c-fos proto-oncogene promoter. CROC-4 encoded an 18-kDa serine/threonine-rich polypeptide containing a P-loop motif and an SH3-binding region with phosphorylation sites for a variety of protein kinases (cdc2, CDK2, MAPK, CDK5, protein kinase C, Ca2+/calmodulin protein kinasa 2, casein kinase 2) involved in cell proliferation and differentiation. Immunohistochemistry revealed that during early development, expression was associated with proliferating and migrating cells throughout the rodent brain, initially appearing in the proliferative ventricular zones. During late development and in adult human brain, CROC-4 was expressed in diverse brain regions including the thalamus, subthalamic nucleus, corpus callosum, substantia nigra, caudate nucleus, amygdala, and hippocampus. The association of CROC-4 expression with proliferating regions of developing brain and retention in regions of the adult brain, as well as the punctate nuclear location, suggest that CROC-4 participates in brain-specific c-fos signaling pathways involved in cellular remodeling of brain architecture.