Components of a signaling pathway that couples the ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) receptor to induction of transcription were identified. CNTF stimulated the tyrosine phosphorylation of p91, a protein implicated in interferon signaling pathways, and of two proteins that are distinct but related to p91. Tyrosine-phosphorylated p91 translocated to the nucleus, where p91 and p91-related proteins bound to a DNA sequence found in promoters of genes responsive to CNTF. This DNA sequence, when inserted upstream of a reporter gene, conferred a transcriptional response to CNTF. A pathway that transduces interferon signals may therefore have a more general function in the propagation of responses to certain neurotrophic factors.