Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) has been directly implicated in developmental and physiological processes, as well as in human cancer, fibrotic diseases and arteriosclerosis. The PDGF family currently consists of at least three gene products, PDGF-A, PDGF-B and PDGF-C, which selectively signal through two PDGF receptors (PDGFRs) to regulate diverse cellular functions. After two decades of searching, PDGF-A and B were the only ligands identified for PDGFRs. Recently, however, database mining has resulted in the discovery of a third member of the PDGF family, PDGF-C, a functional analogue of PDGF-A that requires proteolytic activation. PDGF-A and PDGF-C selectively activate PDGFR-alpha, whereas PDGF-B activates both PDGFR-alpha and PDGFR-beta. Here we identify and characterize a new member of the PDGF family, PDGF D, which also requires proteolytic activation. Recombinant, purified PDGF-D induces DNA synthesis and growth in cells expressing PDGFRs. In cells expressing individual PDGFRs, PDGF-D binds to and activates PDGFR-beta but not PDGFR-alpha. However, in cells expressing both PDGFRs, PDGF-D activates both receptors. This indicates that PDGFR-alpha activation may result from PDGFR-alpha/beta heterodimerization.