Embryonic sensory and motoneurons depend on neurotrophic factors for survival. Here we show that their survival requires B-Raf, which, in this function, cannot be substituted by C-Raf. Sensory and motoneurons from b-raf-deficient mice do not respond to neurotrophic factors for their survival. However, these primary neurons can be rescued by transfection of a b-raf expression plasmid. In contrast, c-raf-deficient neurons survive in response to neurotrophic factors, similarly to neurons from wild-type mice. This points to an essential and specific function of B-Raf in mediating survival of sensory and motoneurons during development.