Based on previous studies demonstrating increased RAS activity in human astrocytomas, we developed a transgenic mouse model (BS) that targets an activated RAS molecule to astrocytes. Within 3 to 4 months after birth, these mice develop high-grade astrocytomas that are histologically identical to human astrocytomas. To characterize genetic events associated with B8 mouse astrocytoma formation, we employed comparative gene expression profiling of wild-type cultured mouse astrocytes, non-neoplastic B8 astrocytes, B8 astrocytoma cultures, and two other astrocytoma cultures from independendy derived RAS transgenic mouse lines. We identified several classes of gene expression changes, including those associated with the non-neoplastic state in the B8 transgenic mouse, those associated with astrocytoma formation, and those specifically associated with only one of the three independently derived transgenic mouse astrocytomas. Differential expression of several unique genes was confirmed at the protein level in both the RAS transgenic mouse astrocytomas and two human glioblastoma multiforme cell lines. Furthermore, reexpression of one of these downregulated astrocytoma-associated proteins, GAP43, resulted in C6 glioma cell growth suppression. The use of this transgenic mouse model to identify novel genetic changes that might underlie the pathogenesis of human high-grade astrocytomas provides a unique opportunity to discover future targets for brain tumor therapy.