Members of the evolutionary conserved Ser/Thr kinase Unc-51 family are key regulatory proteins that control neural development in both vertebrates and invertebrates. Previous studies have suggested diverse functions for the Unc-51 protein, including axonal elongation, growth cone guidance, and synaptic vesicle transport.In this work, we have investigated the functional significance of Unc-51-mediated vesicle transport in the development of complex brain structures in Drosophila. We show that Unc-51 preferentially accumulates in newly elongating axons of the mushroom body, a center of olfactory learning in flies. Mutations in unc-51 cause disintegration of the core of the developing mushroom body, with mislocalization of Fasciclin II (Fas II), an IgG-family cell adhesion molecule important for axonal guidance and fasciculation. In unc-51 mutants, Fas II accumulates in the cell bodies, calyx, and the proximal peduncle. Furthermore, we show that mutations in unc-51 cause aberrant overshooting of dendrites in the mushroom body and the antennal lobe. Loss of unc-51 function leads to marked accumulation of Rab5 and Golgi components, whereas the localization of dendrite-specific proteins, such as Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule (DSCAM) and No distributive disjunction (Nod), remains unaltered. Genetic analyses of kinesin light chain (Klc) and unc-51 double heterozygotes suggest the importance of kinesin-mediated membrane transport for axonal and dendritic development. Moreover, our data demonstrate that loss of Klc activity causes similar axonal and dendritic defects in mushroom body neurons, recapitulating the salient feature of the developmental abnormalities caused by unc-51 mutations.Unc-51 plays pivotal roles in the axonal and dendritic development of the Drosophila brain. Unc-51-mediated membrane vesicle transport is important in targeted localization of guidance molecules and organelles that regulate elongation and compartmentalization of developing neurons.