We report here that neuregulin (NRG) isoforms with a conserved cysteine-rich domain (CRD) in their N terminus regulate expression of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) at developing interneuronal synapses and report the isolation of transmembrane NRG isoforms with this CRD within the N-terminal portion. CRD-NRG mRNA and immunoreactive protein are detected early in developing presynaptic (visceral motor) neurons. The levels of expression of CRD-NRG peak prior to the formation of synapses with their postsynaptic partners, the ganglionic sympathetic neurons. Recombinant CRD-NRG mimics the effects of presynaptic input on target neurons. Functional deletion of CRD-NRG from presynaptic neurons abolishes the upregulation of nAChR expression induced by input-derived soluble material. Thus, CRD-NRG appears to be both a necessary and a sufficient signal for the control of neuronal nAChR expression during synaptogenesis.