Eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF-2) is a heterotrimeric protein with subunits alpha, beta and gamma that forms a ternary complex with Met-tRNA and GTP. It promotes the binding of Met-tRNA to ribosomes and controls translational rates via phosphorylation/dephosphorylation mechanisms. By means of immunofluorescence and post-embedding immunocytochemistry of intact cells and quantitative immunoblotting of cell extracts, the cellular distribution of the initiation factor has been examined in primary neuronal cultures as well as in two established cell lines: PC12 phaeochromocytoma cells and rat pituitary GH4C1 cells. Our results indicated that the initiation factor is located not only in the cytoplasm but also in the nuclei of the cultured neurons and cell lines. In the cytoplasm, immunocytochemical studies reveal that the factor is present mainly in those areas that are rich in ribosomes. In the nucleus, the immunolabelling of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 verified the presence of gold particles in both nucleolar and extranucleolar areas. The specific distribution of this factor on both sides of the nuclear envelope suggests that it might have some nuclear-related function(s) besides its already known role in the control of translation.