We have isolated a 1.476 bp cDNA (NTII11) representing a transcript that is differentially expressed during sciatic nerve development and regeneration in the rat. Nucleotide sequence comparison indicates partial identity with a recently isolated plasmolipin cDNA. However, our clone extends the published sequence by 234 bp at the 5’end and predicts a protein that contains an additional 25 amino acids at the N-terminus. The open reading frame of the NTII11 transcript encodes a 19.4 kDa protein with four putative transmembrane domains. Northern blot analyses revealed a tissue-specific expression of the plasmolipin transcript that is restricted to sciatic nerve, brain and kidney. The neural expression was confirmed by in situ hybridization, and cellular localization of plasmolipin mRNA was demonstrated in Schwann cells of the sciatic nerve and in glial cells of myelinated brain structures. The steady-state levels of plasmolipin mRNA were markedly altered (i) during development of the sciatic nerve and brain, (ii) after sciatic nerve injury, and (iii) in cultured Schwann cells maintained under different conditions of cell growth and arrest. Our data indicate a function of plasmolipin during myelination in the central as well as in the peripheral nervous system.