In the mammalian nervous system, K+ channels regulate diverse aspects of neuronal function and are encoded by a large set of K+ channel genes. The roles of different K+ channel proteins could be dictated by their localization to specific subcellular domains. We report that two K+ channel polypeptides, Kv1.4 and Kv4.2, which form transient (A-type) K+ channels when expressed in Xenopus oocytes, are segregated in rat central neurons. Kv1.4 protein is targeted to axons and possibly terminals, while Kv4.2 is concentrated in dendrites and somata. This differential distribution implies distinct roles for these channel proteins in vivo. Their localizations suggest that Kv1.4 and Kv4.2 may regulate synaptic transmission via presynaptic, or postsynaptic mechanisms, respectively.