Axonal behavior during the formation of the neuronal network of the nervous system has been shown to be under environmental control. Hence, as a first step in a project aiming to elucidate the molecular basis of axonal functions, we have identified axonal proteins whose synthesis is subject to environmentally induced changes. Neurons from chicken embryonic dorsal root ganglia (DRG) were grown in a compartmental cell culture system that allows selective examination of axonal proteins. Non-neuronal cells of the peripheral or central nervous system were co-cultured with the DRG axons. The axonal proteins expressed under these different environmental conditions were examined by metabolic labeling and two-dimensional SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Computerized quantification revealed that 12 out of 400 axonal proteins responded to changes in the local axonal environment by a change in their relative abundance. Some proteins changed in response to both types of co-cultures whereas some changed specifically under the influence of either peripheral or central non-neuronal cells.