Apart from the first family member, uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), the functions of other UCPs (UCP2-UCP5) are still unknown. In analyzing our own results and those previously published by others, we have assumed that UCP"s cellular expression pattern coincides with a specific cell metabolism and changes if the latter is altered. To verify this hypothesis, we analyzed the expression of UCP1-5 in mouse embryonic stem cells before and after their differentiation to neurons. We have shown that only UCP2 is present in undifferentiated stem cells and it disappears simultaneously with the initiation of neuronal differentiation. In contrast, UCP4 is simultaneously up-regulated together with typical neuronal marker proteins TUJ-1 and NeuN during mESC differentiation in vitro as well as during murine brain development in vivo. Notably, several tested cell lines express UCP2, but not UCP4. In line with this finding, neuroblastoma cells that display metabolic features of tumor cells express UCP2, but not UCP4. UCP2"s occurrence in cancer, immunological and stem cells indicates that UCP2 is present in cells with highly proliferative potential, which have a glycolytic type of metabolism as a common feature, whereas UCP4 is strongly associated with non-proliferative highly differentiated neuronal cells.