A novel nuerotrophic factor named ~40% Persephin that is to glial cell lied neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and neurturin (NTN) has been identified using degenerate PCR. Persephin, like GDNF and NTN, promotes the survival of ventral midbrain dopaminergic neurons in culture and prevents their degeneration after 6-hydroxydopamine treatment in vivo. Persephin also supports the survival of motor neurons in culture end in vivo after sciatic nerve axotomy and, like GDNF, promotes ureteric bud branching. However, in contrast to GDNF and NTN, persephin does not support any of the peripheral neurons that were examined. Fibroblasts transfected with Rat and one of the coreceptors GFRα-1 or GFRα-2 do not respond to persephin, suggesting that persephin utilizes additional, or different, receptor components than GDNF and NTN.