Hyaluronan (HA) is a ubiquitous component of extracellular matrices, and in several systems it plays a central role in regulating cellular proliferation and differentiation. Cell, or tissue,-specific functions of HA are likely to be mediated by cell, or tissue,-specific HA-binding proteins. We previously hyaluronan-binding protein from rat and cat (Jaworski et al., 1994). In view of the potential role of HA in neural differentiation, we examined the expression of BEHAB during late embryonic and early postnatal development of the rat. BEHAB is expressed at very high levels in ventricular zones throughout the neuraxis. Expression is first detected at embryonic day 15 (E15) in the spinal cord, and is detected at progressively more rostral levels at later ages. BEHAB expression, like other features of neural development, follows both caudal-to-rostral and ventral-to-dorsal gradients. The timing of BEHAB expression parallels the timing of the generation of glial cells. In all areas of the CNS examined, BEHAB expression begins after the peak of neurogenesis and coincident with gliogenesis. The regulation of proliferation and differentiation by HA in other tissues, together with the expression of BEHAB in zones of mitotic activity coincident with the generation of glia, suggests that the extracellular matrix protein encoded by BEHAB could play a role in the generation or differentiation of CNS glia.