Neuroserpin is a novel serine protease inhibitor of the serpin family. It has been reported as a 55-kDa glycoprotein that is secreted from the axons of cultured central and peripheral nervous system neurons. In situ hybridization and Northern blot analyses at different developmental stages of the chicken revealed that neuroserpin is predominantly expressed in the nervous system and that most cells expressing neuroserpin can be qualified as bona fide neurons. We have isolated the full-length cDNA for human neuroserpin from a fetal retina cDNA library. The open reading frame of the cDNA of human neuroserpin, like that of its chicken counterpart, encodes a protein of 410 amino acids. The human and the chicken neuroserpin exhibit an amino acid sequence identity of 80%. Northern blot analysis of human organs demonstrated predominant expression of neuroserpin in the brain. By fluorescence in situ hybridization the human neuroserpin gene (HGMW-approved symbol PI12) was mapped to region q26 of chromosome 3.