The second messengers cAMP and cGMP activate their target proteins by binding to a conserved cyclic nucleotide-binding domain (CNBD). Here, we identify and characterize an entirely novel CNBD-containing protein called CRIS (cyclic nucleotide receptor involved in sperm function) that is unrelated to any of the other members of this protein family. CRIS is exclusively expressed in sperm precursor cells. Cris-deficient male mice are either infertile due to a lack of sperm resulting from spermatogenic arrest, or subfertile due to impaired sperm motility. The motility defect is caused by altered Ca(2+) regulation of flagellar beat asymmetry, leading to a beating pattern that is reminiscent of sperm hyperactivation. Our results suggest that CRIS interacts during spermiogenesis with Ca(2+)-regulated proteins that--in mature sperm--are involved in flagellar bending.