The nervous system contains oligodendrocytes with processes that are greatly extended in space. It is now clear that there are numerous complex, poorly understood mechanisms by which polypeptides are synthesized and delivered to their sites of function in these cells. One mechanism is by the active positioning of mRNAs encoding certain proteins to restricted intracellular subdomains. Perhaps the best studied example of this in the vertebrate CNS is the translocation of myelin basic protein mRNAs to the forming myelin sheath, where the newly synthesized polypeptides, which avidly associate with membranes, can be directly incorporated into the myelin membrane. Evidence for this conclusion is presented here in the context of related work on the general phenomenon of mRNA translocation that is under analysis in other systems.