The product of the RET proto-oncogene is a protein belonging to the receptor-like tyrosine kinase superfamily. RET is expressed in several neural crest-derived cell lineages and has been implicated in the correct development of the peripheral nervous system. To gain further insight into RET function, we investigated the presence of active RET in adult rat tissues. We show, by immunoblotting, that the products of the RET proto-oncogene (p155ret) are present in specific regions of adult rat brain, including the cerebellum, striatum, brainstem, hypothalamus, hippocampus, and olfactory bulb. Moreover, in the cerebellum, p155ret is phosphorylated in tyrosine residues, thus indicating that this brain structure contains p155ret in an activated state. Finally, the presence of RET in motoneurons prompted us to analyze the effects of hypoglossal nerve section on its expression. We observed a dramatic increase in p155ret in the motoneuron nuclei, thus suggesting that RET tyrosine kinase plays a role in the neuronal response to axotomy and/or during nerve regeneration.