Fringe has originally been found in Drosophila as a gene encoding a putative secreted protein which regulates the sensitivity of Notch signaling pathway to different ligands. We show that three members of murine fringe gene family, Lunatic fringe (L-fng), Manic fringe (M-fng) and Radical fringe (R-fng), show related patterns of expression in the developing cerebral wall. L-fng is expressed in immature cells in the ventricular zone. M-fng is upregulated transiently in maturing neurons when they leave the ventricular zone (VZ). R-fng is upregulated in more mature neurons when they enter the preplate and cortical plate. These patterns suggest that the transition from immature to mature neurons involves sequential changes in the member of fringe family genes expressed. More detailed expression analyses of fringe genes and immunohistochemistry for neuron-specific class III beta-tubulin suggest a mode of neurogenesis which might underlie the histogenesis of the cerebral cortex. A proliferative population situated outside of the VZ is defined as M-fng-positive/BrdU-positive cells, which constitutes about 10-20% of the total S-phase cells in the cerebral wall of embryonic day 10.5-12.5. We found that M-fng is expressed in mitotic figures outside the VZ and some of them react with the antibody against class III beta-tubulin. These observations suggest that a significant number of proliferative cells exist outside the VZ, which supply neurons during early cortical development.