Peripherin (Formerly the Y protein) is found in the peripheral nervous system. This Triton-insoluble protein is characterized by its isoelectric point (5.6), its apparent molecular weight (56,000 daltons) and its peptide map. Peripherin was also observed in a mouse neuroblastoma cell line, NIE 115, where its expression appeared regulated by the presence of an inducer of morphological differentiation. In order to analyze more precisely this control, the presence of peripherin was investigated in several neuroblastoma cell lines which exhibit different morphological patterns of differentiation and in the rat pheochromocytoma PC 12 cell line. Differentiation of these cells was induced with 1-methylcyclohexane carboxylic acid (CCA) and nerve growth factor (NGF), respectively. Peripherin was found in these different cell lines. Moreover, the cellular amount of peripherin appraised by [35S]-methionine incorporation was significatively increased in differentiated cells. In contrast, other cytoskeletal components did not undergo a similar raise. The level at which the control of the peripherin content takes place was studied in a cell-free translation system. Poly(A)-rich RNAs extracted from growing or differentiated NIE 115 cells directed the synthesis of similar amounts of peripherin in a reticulocyte lysate. In contrast, polysomes prepared from differentiated cells and the corresponding polysomal RNA programmed in vitro the synthesis of twice more peripherin than polysomes or polysomal RNA from growth-phase cells. Since peripherin synthesis is enhanced 5 times in living cells, it seems probable that the cellular amount of peripherin is controlled partly at the translational level and partly at the turn-over level.