A surface receptor complex of Mr˜65 000 (p65) and ˜95 000 (p95) is expressed in cells of the central nervous system of mice. This receptor is recognized by monoclonal antibody 87.92.6 or by reovirus type 3 haemagglutinin as unnatural ligands. The p65/p95 receptor is expressed mostly in neural embryonic precursors undergoing proliferation, especially those in the S-G2 phase of the cell cycle. Receptor expression decreases progressively throughout embryogenesis to low but detectable levels in the adult brain. Biochemical characterization revealed that the neural p65/p95 receptor complex is indistinguishable from the p65/p95 receptor expressed in T cells, where receptor ligation leads to a mitogenic block. In neural and lymphoid tissues the p65/p95 receptor (or an associated protein) possesses a tyrosine kinase enzymatic activity. Receptor ligation in neural cells resulted in the rapid tyrosine phosphorylation of cellular proteins which are different from substrates phosphorylated in T cells. Differential substrate coupling to the receptor may account for differences in signal transduction and biology between neural cells and T cells. Further study of this receptor complex may help define important features of neural proliferation, differentiation and survival.