Alterations in neuronal connectivity of the mature central nervous system (CNS) appear to depend on a delicate balance between growth-promoting and growth-inhibiting molecules. To begin to address a potential role of the secreted chemorepulsive protein semaphorin(D)III/collapsin-1 (semaIII/coll-1) in structural plasticity during adulthood, we used high-resolution nonradioactive in situ hybridization to identify neural structures that express semaIII/coll-1 mRNA in the mature rat and human brain. SemaIII/coll-1 was expressed in distinct but anatomically and functionally linked structures of the adult nervous system. The olfactory-hippocampal pathway displayed semaIII/coll-1 expression in a continuum of neuronal structures, including mitral and tufted cells of the olfactory bulb, olfactory tubercle, and piriform cortex; and distinct nuclei of the amygdaloid complex, the superficial layers of the entorhinal cortex, and the subiculum of the hippocampal formation. In addition, prominent labeling was found in neuronal components of the motor system, particularly in cerebellar Purkinje cells and in subpopulations of cranial and spinal motoneurons. Retrograde tracing combined with in situ hybridization also revealed that the staining of semaIII/coll-1 within the entorhinal cortex was present in the stellate neurons that project via the perforant path to the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus. Like in the rat, the human brain displayed discrete expression of semaIII/coll-1. Among the structures examined, the most prominent staining was observed in the cellular islands of the superficial layers of the human entorhinal cortex. The constitutive expression of the chemorepellent semaIII/coll-1 in discrete populations of neurons in the mature rat and human CNS raises the possibility that, in addition to its function as repulsive axon guidance cue during development, semaIII/coll-1 might be involved in restricting structural changes that occur in the wiring of the intact CNS.