Several findings suggest that signals from tyrosine kinases are transduced, at least in part, through ras proteins. These findings include (i) blockage of the transforming activity of constitutively active tyrosine kinases by inhibiting ras function and (ii) genetic screens in Caenorhabditis elegans and in Drosophila that identified ras genes as downstream effectors of tyrosine kinases. The recently isolated Drosophila gene Son of sevenless (Sos) is postulated to act as a positive regulatory link between tyrosine kinase and ras proteins by catalyzing exchange of GDP for GTP on ras protein. Such exchange proteins have been reported in extracts of mammalian cells but have not been previously characterized at a molecular level. As Sos appears to function in this role in Drosophila, we sought to isolate a vertebrate counterpart(s). We have characterized two widely expressed murine genes with a high degree of homology to Sos. Hybridization with human DNA and RNA indicates a high degree of conservation of these genes in other vertebrates.