By cross hybridization with the mammalian growth-related protein, GAP-43, we have isolated several Drosophila cDNAs and genomic sequences. These sequences correspond to a single copy gene that encodes two developmentally regulated transcripts 2.4 and 2.0 kb in length. The predicted protein sequence from the cDNAs contains a stretch of 20 amino acids closely related to the mammalian GAP-43 protein. These residues are also highly conserved in a cDNA isolated from the nematode C. elegans. Prior to dorsal closure, expression of the Drosophila gene is observed in non-neuronal tissues, especially in the mesectoderm and presumptive epidermis, both in a metameric pattern. After dorsal closure, expression becomes restricted to sets of cells that are segmentally reiterated along the periphery of the nervous system. These cells appear to include at least one specific set of glia that may establish scaffolding for the development of the longitudinal neuropile.