The development and maintenance of myelinated nerves in the PNS requires constant and reciprocal communication between Schwann cells and their associated axons. However, little is known about the nature of the cell-surface molecules that mediate axon–glial interactions at the onset of myelination and during maintenance of the myelin sheath in the adult. Based on the rationale that such molecules contain a signal sequence in order to be presented on the cell surface, we have employed a eukaryotic-based, signal-sequence-trap approach to identify novel secreted and membrane-bound molecules that are expressed in myelinating and non-myelinating Schwann cells. Using cDNA libraries derived from dbcAMP-stimulated primary Schwann cells and 3-day-old rat sciatic nerve mRNAs, we generated an extensive list of novel molecules expressed in myelinating nerves in the PNS. Many of the identified proteins are cell-adhesion molecules (CAMs) and extracellular matrix (ECM) components, most of which have not been described previously in Schwann cells. In addition, we have identified several signaling receptors, growth and differentiation factors, ecto-enzymes and proteins that are associated with the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi network. We further examined the expression of several of the novel molecules in Schwann cells in culture and in rat sciatic nerve by primer-specific, real-time PCR and in situ hybridization. Our results indicate that myelinating Schwann cells express a battery of novel CAMs that might mediate their interactions with the underlying axons.