During metamorphosis of the insect brain, the optic lobe anlagen generate the proliferation centers for the visual cortices. We show here that, in the moth Manduca sexta, an 80 kDa Golgi complex protein (Ms-golgin80) is abundantly expressed in the cytoplasm of neuroblasts and ganglion mother cells in the optic lobe anlagen and proliferation centers. The predicted amino acid sequence for Ms-golgin80 is similar to that of several members of the GM130 subfamily of Golgi-associated proteins, including rat GM130 and human golgin-95. Homologs of Ms-golgin80 from Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, and Brugia malayi were identified through homology sequence search. Sequence similarities are present in three regions: the N-terminus, an internal domain of 89 amino acids, and another domain of 89 amino acids near the C-terminus. Structural similarities further suggest that these molecules play the same cellular role as GM130. GM130 is involved in the docking and fusion of coatomer (COP I) coated vesicles to the Golgi membranes; it also regulates the fragmentation and subsequent reassembly of the Golgi complex during mitosis. Abundant expression of Ms-golgin80 in neuroblasts and ganglion mother cells and its reduced expression in the neuronal progeny of these cells suggest that this protein may be involved in the maintenance of the proliferative state.