The C. elegans gene unc-86 is required in several distinct neuroblast lineages for daughter cells to become different from their mothers, and is also required for the specification of particular neural identities. Consistent with the fact that unc-86 encodes a POU domain protein, we find that the unc-86 protein is localized to the nucleus. In the affected lineages, unc-86 protein appears within a few minutes after cell division in the nuclei of those daughter cells that are transformed by unc-86 mutations. Thus, expression of unc-86 protein is dependent on cell lineage. unc-86 protein is not asymmetrically segregated at further divisions. unc-86 protein also appears shortly after cell division in the nuclei of particular identified differentiating neurons; at least some of these neurons are nonfunctional in unc-86 mutants.