We have cloned and characterized a new member of the receptor tyrosine kinase family. The cDNA clone, isolated from a rat olfactory cDNA library, has considerable homology to the family of receptors that includes the colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor, the c-kit proto-oncogene, and the platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) receptors. Analysis of DNA sequence homology, ligand-binding, and ligand-stimulated phosphorylation data suggests that this clone encodes the rat PDGF-A/B or alpha-receptor. Comparison of its sequence to those of other receptors allows us to postulate a mechanism for receptor dimerization and activation. The expression of the rat alpha-PDGF receptor in nonneuronal cells of the olfactory epithelium and in the olfactory bulb is consistent with a role for PDGF in glial cell generation.