We have identified transcripts encoding several different forms of rat TrkC, a member of the Trk family of receptor tyrosine kinases that serves as a receptor for neurotrophin-3. Some forms of TrkC lack the intracytoplasmic kinase domain and thus resemble previously defined truncated variants of TrkB. Other forms of TrkC contain variable-sized amino acid insertions within the tyrosine kinase domain. Transcripts encoding all forms of TrkC can be detected throughout the nervous system, displaying substantial overlap as well as mutually exclusive distribution patterns with transcripts for TrkB. Strikingly, only transcripts encoding the truncated forms of TrkB and TrkC are found in astrocytes, peripheral nerve, and nonneural tissues. Finally, forms of TrkC containing insertions within the kinase domain retain their ability to autophosphorylate in response to neurotrophin-3, but cannot mediate proliferation in fibroblasts or neuronal differentiation in PC12 cells.