The neurotrophins comprise a family of secreted proteins that elicit profound responses in cells of the developing and mature vertebrate nervous system including the regulation of neuronal survival and differentiation. The molecular mechanisms by which the neurotrophins exert their effects have been the subject of intense investigation. The neurotrophins elicit responses in neurons via members of the Trk family of receptors and the p75 neurotrophin receptor. Once activated, neurotrophin receptors trigger a large number of biochemical events that propagate the neurotrophin signal from the plasma membrane to the interior of the cell. An important target of the neurotrophin-induced signaling pathways is the nucleus, where neurotrophin- induced signals are coupled to alterations in gene expression. These neurotrophin-induced changes in gene expression are critical for many of the phenotypic effects of neurotrophins including the regulation of neuronal survival and differentiation.