Instructing glial cells to generate neurons may prove to be a strategy to replace neurons that have degenerated. Here, we describe a robust protocol for the efficient in vitro conversion of postnatal astroglia from the mouse cerebral cortex into functional, synapse-forming neurons. This protocol involves two steps: (i) expansion of astroglial cells (7 d) and (ii) astroglia-to-neuron conversion induced by persistent and strong retroviral expression of Neurog2 (encoding neurogenin-2) or Mash1 (also referred to as achaete-scute complex homolog 1 or Ascl1) and/or distal-less homeobox 2 (Dlx2) for generation of glutamatergic or GABAergic neurons, respectively (7-21 d for different degrees of maturity). Our protocol of astroglia-to-neuron conversion by a single neurogenic transcription factor provides a stringent experimental system to study the specification of a selective neuronal subtype, thus offering an alternative to the use of embryonic or neural stem cells. Moreover, it can be a useful model for studies of lineage conversion from non-neuronal cells, with potential for brain regenerative medicine.