The initiation of cellular differentiation in the vertebrate central nervous system is a cascade of regulated gene expression events involving both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Currently, the molecular events underlying the developmental transition from the cessation of cell proliferation to the onset of cell differentiation during neurogenesis are still poorly understood. We have identified a gene, tenp, which is likely to play a role during the transition. tenp mRNA was detected in the developing retina and brain, but not in the heart, kidney, or liver. Anatomically, cells expressing tenp formed a narrow strip at the boundary between the ventricular zone (consisting of proliferating cells) and the intermediate zone (occupied by postmitotic, differentiating cells). Further analysis showed that they were bromodeoxyuridine negative and thus postmitotic, yet without apparent differentiation such as the expression of microtubule-associated protein (MAP2) and neorofilament (NF68). When expressed in chicken embryonic fibroblast cells through transfection, Tenp protein was immunodetected in membrane fractions, implying that Tenp might be a membrane protein as predicted by a computer analysis of its primary sequence. Our data suggested that tenp might be involved in an early neurogenic event that existed transiently after terminal mitosis, yet before the overt differentiation of neural precursor cells.