The axonal cell adhesion molecule, TAG-1/axonin-1, stimulates axonal growth and supports neurite fasciculation in vitro. Using a polyclonal antiserum raised against chick axonin-1, which shares 75% of its sequence with TAG-1 of the rat, we have mapped the distribution of TAG-1/axonin-1 throughout the developing nervous system of the mouse. Although absent from proliferating neuroepithelia and from non-neuronal cells, immunoreactivity for TAG-1/axonin-1 is expressed by stage-specific subpopulations of differentiating neurons from embryonic day 10 to postnatal day 15. It stains their axons and the surface of their parent somata during the early phases of axogenesis. In agreement with a putative role of TAG-1/axonin-1 as an axon-bound growth substrate, immunoreactivity is found in developing spinal and cranial nerves, in corticothalamic projections, as well as in subsets of fasciculating long projecting tracts of the central nervous system, such as the dorsal funiculi of the spinal cord, the lateral olfactory and optic tracts, the fasciculus retroflexus, and the predorsal bundle. High levels of immunoreactivity characterise the development of the cerebellar molecular layer, the corpus callosum, anterior and hippocampal commissure, and of crossed projections in the spinal cord and at several levels of the brainstem. Intense immunoreactivity in fine collaterals of cutaneous afferents, including their growth cones that are in contact with the embryonic skin, suggests a role of TAG-1/axonin-1 in target recognition. While staining is weak on the somata of radially migrating neurons such as cortical neurons and cerebellar granule cells, strong immunoreactivity is associated with neural somata and processes of the three tangential migrations that form the precerebellar nuclei, indicating a possible involvement of TAG-1/axonin-1 in contacts between these neurons and the processes they migrate upon.