The progeny of neural stem cells in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the adult mammalian brain consists in polysialylated NCAM-expressing immature neurons (PSA(+) cells), which migrate to the olfactory bulb (OB) to differentiate into GABAergic interneurons. We purified murine PSA(+) cells directly from the adult brain by FACS and analyzed their gene expression profile by SAGE. Comparative analyses led to the identification of precursor-enriched genes, including Survivin, Sox-4, Meis2, Dishevelled-2, C3aR1 and Riken 3110003A17, and many so far uncharacterized transcripts. Cluster analysis showed that groups of genes involved in axon guidance and gene clusters implicated in chemotaxis are strongly upregulated, indicating a role of both cues in the control of cell migration in the adult brain. Furthermore, genes involved in apoptosis and cell proliferation are co-expressed, suggesting that the amount of precursors that is present in the adult brain is a result of an equilibrium of these processes.