1. In investigating the communication paths between target tissue and neurons we have been led to propose two classes of neurotrophic factors. One comprises the factors which transport themselves, the other factors relying on the transport of a second messenger. The former may have labile second messenger systems necessitating the translocation of agonist and receptor from the nerve terminal to the cell body and the latter must possess a stable second messenger system that itself is sufficiently robust to survive the transport to the cell body. 2. One such class of stable messengers may be the GTP-binding protein family and it has been shown that the alpha subunits of both Gi alpha and Gz alpha can be retrogradely transported in the mouse sciatic nerve. 3. Examination of the cell bodies in the dorsal root ganglia revealed that Gz alpha accumulated in the nucleus of cells with intact axons but that 24 h after axonal ligation this immunoreactivity decreased. 4. It is suggested that Gz is activated at the nerve terminal and it, or at least its alpha subunit, undergoes retrograde transport to the cell body where it accumulates in the nucleus.