The hypothesis that B-50/GAP43, a membrane-associated phosphoprotein, is involved in process outgrowth has been tested by studying the developmental pattern of expression of B-50/GAP43 mRNA and protein during mouse neuroembryogenesis. B-50/GAP43 mRNA is first detectable at embryonic day 8.5 (E8.5) in the presumptive acoustico-facialis ganglion. Subsequently, both B-50/GAP43 mRNA and protein were co-expressed in a series of neural structures: in the ventral neural tube (from E9.5) and dorsal root ganglia (from E10.5), in the marginal layer of the neuroepithelium surrounding the brain vesicles and in the cranial ganglia (from E9.5), in the autonomic nervous system (from E10.5), in the olfactory neuroepithelium and in the mesenteric nervous system (from E11.5), in a continuum of brain regions (from E12.5) and in the retina (from E13.5). Immunoreactive fibers were always seen arising from these regions when they expressed B-50/GAP43 mRNA. The spatial and temporal pattern of B-50/GAP43 expression demonstrates that this protein is absent from neuroblasts and consistently appears in neurons committed to fiber outgrowth. The expression of the protein in immature neurons is independent of their embryological origin. Our detailed study of B-50/GAP43 expression during mouse neuroembryogenesis supports the view that this protein is involved in a process common to all neurons elaborating fibers.