Developmentally regulated delayed rectifier potassium currents determine the waveform of the action potential in all Xenopus embryonic primary spinal neurons. To examine this developmental program at the molecular level, we have isolated Xenopus Kv2 potassium channel genes Kv2.1 and Kv2.2. Both genes induce functional heterologous expression of delayed rectifier potassium currents. Transcripts from both Kv2 genes are present in developing embryos; however, only Kv2.2 mRNA is detectable in embryonic spinal neurons. Notably, Kv2.2 transcripts localize to ventral spinal neurons, whereas previously described Kv1.1 transcripts are found in dorsal spinal neurons. Thus, spinal neuron subtypes express distinct potassium channel genes, yet they temporally coordinate functional expression of delayed rectifier potassium currents.