Synaptotagmin IV (Syt IV) is a fourth member of the Syt family and has been shown to regulate some forms of memory and learning by analysis of Syt IV null mutant mice (Ferguson, G. D., Anagnostaras, S. G., Silva, A. J., and Herschman, H. R. (2000) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 97, 5598-5603). However, the involvement of Syt IV protein in vesicular trafficking and even its localization in secretory vesicles are still matters of controversy. Here we present several lines of evidence showing that the Syt IV protein in PC12 cells is normally localized in the Golgi or immature vesicles at the cell periphery and is sorted to fusion-competent mature dense-core vesicles in response to short nerve growth factor (NGF) stimulation. (i) In undifferentiated PC12 cells, Syt IV protein is mainly localized in the Golgi and small amounts are also present at the cell periphery, but according to the results of an immunocytochemical analysis, they do not colocalize with conventional secretory vesicle markers (Syt I, Syt IX, Rab3A, Rab27A, vesicle-associated membrane protein 2, and synaptophysin) at all. By contrast, limited colocalization of Syt IV protein with dense-core vesicle markers is found in the distal parts of the neurites of NGF-differentiated PC12 cells. (ii) Immunoelectron microscopy with highly specific anti-Syt IV antibody revealed that the Syt IV protein in undifferentiated PC12 cells is mainly present on the Golgi membranes and immature secretory vesicles, whereas after NGF stimulation Syt IV protein is also present on the mature dense-core vesicles. (iii) An N-terminal antibody-uptake experiment indicated that Syt IV-containing vesicles in the neurites of NGF-differentiated PC12 cells undergo Ca2+-dependent exocytosis, whereas no uptake of the anti-Syt IV-N antibody was observed in undifferentiated PC12 cells. Our results suggest that Syt IV is a stimulus (e.g. NGF)-dependent regulator for exocytosis of dense-core vesicles.