We examined the localization of connexin (Cx)43 in the enamel organ during ameloblast development. The specificity of monoclonal anti-Cx43 antibody was elucidated by immunoblot analysis and immunoelectron microscopy. Gold particles for Cx43 were detected by immunoelectron microscopy on gap junctions but not on other structures such as desmosomes. Punctate and intense immunofluorescence for Cx43 was detected in all cell types of the enamel organ. Cx43 expression in ameloblasts showed a transient decrease and then increase during ameloblast development. Double staining of Cx43 and amelogenin, one of the enamel proteins, revealed that immunofluorescence for Cx43 markedly decreased in some late presecretory ameloblasts just prior to enamel formation. Moreover, the localization of Cx43 changed during enamel formation. Cx43 was distributed randomly on the lateral plasma membranes of presecretory ameloblasts, but tended to gather on those corresponding to the supranuclear regions of secretory ameloblasts. Immunofluorescence for Cx43 in maturation ameloblasts appeared linear rather than punctate. These results suggest that Cx43 in the late presecretory ameloblasts is degraded just before enamel formation and then newly synthesized Cx43 is redistributed during the secretory stage. These changes in Cx43 expression may be related to the cellular differentiation of ameloblasts.