The expression of the 240 ConA-binding glycoprotein (240 kDa), a marker of synaptic junctions isolated from the rat cerebellum, was studied by immunocytochemical techniques in forebrain and cerebellum from rat and chicken, and in chick dorsal root ganglia. Parallel studies were carried out either on tissue sections or in dissociated cell cultures. In all cases non neuronal cells were not immunostained. The tissue sections of cerebellum from rat and chick exhibited 240 kDa glycoprotein immunoreactivity, especially in the molecular layer, while the forebrain sections from rat and chick did not show any significant immunostaining. In contrast, in dissociated forebrain cell cultures, all neuronal cells expressed 240 kDa glycoprotein immunoreactivity, while glial cells remained totally unlabelled. In tissue sections of dorsal root ganglion (DRG), sensory neurons expressed the 240 kDa only after the embryonic day (E 10). A large number of small neurons in the dorsomedial part of DRG were immunostained with 240 kDa glycoprotein antiserum, whereas only a small number of neurons in the ventrolateral part of the ganglia displayed 240 kDa immunoreactivity. In dissociated DRG cells cultures (mixed or neuron-enriched DRG cell cultures) all the neuronal perikarya but not their processes were stained. These studies indicate that 240 kDa glycoprotein expression is completely modified in cultures of neurons of CNS or PNS since the antigen becomes synthetized in high amount by all cells independent of synapse formation. This demonstrates that the expression of 240 kDa is controlled by the cell environment.