Nuclear envelope (NE) is a Ca2+-storing organelle controlling neuronal differentiation through nuclear Ca2+ concentrations ([Ca2+]n). However, how [Ca2+]n regulates this important function remains unknown. Here, we investigated the role of the nuclear form of the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger 1(nuNCX1) during the different stages of neuronal differentiation and the involvement of PTEN/PI3'K/Akt pathway. In neuronal cells, nuNCX1 was detected on the inner membrane of the NE where protein expression and activity of the exchanger increased during NGF-induced differentiation. nuNCX1 activation by Na+-free perfusion induced a time-dependent activation of nuclear-resident PI3K/Akt pathway in isolated nuclei. To discriminate the contribution of nuNCX1 from those of plasma membrane NCX, we generated a chimeric protein composed of the fluorophore EYFP, the exchanger inhibitory peptide, and the nuclear localization signal, named XIP-NLS. Fura-2 measurements on single nuclei and patch-clamp experiments in whole-cell configuration showed that XIP-NLS selectively inhibited nuNCX1. Once it reached the nuclear compartment, XIP-NLS increased the nucleoplasmic Ca2+ peak elicited by ATP and reduced Akt phosphorylation, GAP-43 and MAP-2 expression through nuclear-resident PTEN induction. Furthermore, in accordance with the prevention of the neuronal phenotype, XIP-NLS significantly reduced TTX-sensitive Na+ currents and membrane potential during neuronal differentiation. The selective inhibition of nuNCX1 by XIP-NLS increased the percentage of β III tubulin-positive immature neurons in mature cultures of MAP-2-positive cortical neurons, thus unraveling a new function for nuNCX1 in regulating neuronal differentiation through [Ca2+]n-dependent PTEN/PI3K/Akt pathway.