Voltage-gated K+ channels are localized to juxtaparanodal regions of myelinated axons. To begin to understand the role of normal compact myelin in this localization, we examined mKv1.1 and mKv1.2 expression in the dysmyelinating mouse mutants shiverer and Trembler. In neonatal wild-type and shiverer mice, the focal localization of both proteins in axon fiber tracts is similar, suggesting that cues other than mature myelin can direct initial K+ channel localization in shiverer mutants. In contrast, K+ channel localization is altered in hypomyelinated axonal fiber tracts of adult mutants, suggesting that abnormal myelination leads to channel redistribution. In shiverer adult, K+ channel expression is up-regulated in both axons and glia, as revealed by immunocytochemistry, RNase protection, and in situ hybridization studies. This up-regulation of K+ channels in hypomyelinated axon tracts may reflect a compensatory reorganization of ionic currents, allowing impulse conduction to occur in these dysmyelinating mouse mutants.