The Torso receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) is required for cell fate specification in the terminal regions (head and tail) of the early Drosophila embryo. Torso contains a split tyrosine kinase domain and belongs to the type III subgroup of the RTK superfamily that also includes the platelet-derived growth factor receptors, stem cell or steel factor receptor c-Kit proto-oncoprotein, colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor, and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor. The Torso pathway has been a model system for studying RTK signal transduction. Genetic and biochemical studies of Torso signaling have provided valuable insights into the biological functions and mechanisms of RTK signaling during early Drosophila embryogenesis. Developmental Dynamics 232:656–672, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.