The Robo family of molecules is important for axon guidance across the midline during central nervous system (CNS) development in invertebrates and vertebrates. Here we describe the patterns of Robo protein expression in the developing mouse CNS from embryonic day (E) 9.5 to postnatal day (P) 4, as determined by immunohistochemical labeling with an antibody (S3) raised against a common epitope present in the Robo ectodomain of Robos 1 and 2. In the spinal cord, midline-crossing axons are initially (at E11) S3-positive. At later times, midline Robo expression disappears, but is strongly upregulated in longitudinally running postcrossing axons. It is also strongly expressed in noncrossing longitudinal axons. Differential expression of Robo along axons was also found in axons cultured from E14 spinal cord. These findings resemble those from the Drosophila ventral nerve cord and indicate that in vertebrates a low level of Robo expression occurs in the initial crossing of the midline, while a high level of expression in the postcrossing fibers prevents recrossing. Likewise, Robo-positive ipsilateral axons are prevented from crossing at all. However, in the brain different rules appear to apply. Most commissural axons including those of the corpus callosum are strongly S3-positive along their whole length from their time of formation to postnatal life, but some have more complex age-dependent expression patterns. S3 labeling of the optic pathway is also complex, being initially strong in the retinal ganglion cells, optic tract, and chiasma but thereafter being lost except in a proportion of postchiasmal axons. The corticospinal tract is strongly positive throughout its course at all stages examined, including its decussation, formed at about P2 in the central part of the medulla oblongata. J. Comp. Neurol. 468:467–481, 2004. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.