Rho-family GTPases regulate a wide range of biological functions including cell migration, cell adhesion and cell growth. Recently, results from studies in vivo in Drosophila, mouse and humans have demonstrated the involvement of these GTPases in mechanisms controlling neuronal differentiation and the development of the central nervous system (CNS). However, the signalling pathways underlying these functions and the proteins directly regulating RhoGTPases in developing neurons are poorly defined. Here we report the structure and expression pattern of the murine orthologue of mgcRacGAP, a human gene encoding a RacGTPase partner expressed in male germ cells [Touré, Dorseuil, Morin, Timmons, Jegou, Reibel and Gacon (1998) J. Biol. Chem. 273, 6019-6023]. In contrast with that from humans, murine mgcRacGAP encodes two distinct transcripts. Both are developmentally regulated. A 2.2 kb transcript is strongly expressed in mature testis and is up-regulated with spermatogenesis. A 3 kb RNA is predominant in the embryo and is expressed primarily in the CNS during the neurogenic phase, decreasing after birth. In situ hybridization analysis in embryonic-day 14.5 mouse embryos demonstrates a preferential expression of mgcRacGAP in the proliferative ventricular zone of the cortex. In addition to the expression of mgcRacGAP in male germ cells already reported in humans and suggesting an involvement in spermatogenesis, we characterize an embryonic transcript whose expression is closely correlated with neurogenesis. This result addresses the question of the role of Rac/MgcRacGAP pathway in neuronal proliferation.