5-HT2B receptors, in addition to phospholipase C stimulation, are able to trigger activation of the proto-oncogene product p21ras. During mouse embryogenesis, a peak of 5-HT2B receptor expression is detected at the neurulation stage; we localized the 5-HT2B expression in neural crest cells, heart myocardium, and somites. The requirement for functional 5-HT2B receptors shortly after gastrulation, is supported by culture of embryos exposed to 5-HT2B-high affinity antagonist such as ritanserin, which induces morphological defects in the cephalic region, heart and neural tube. Functional 5-HT2B receptors are also expressed during the serotonergic differentiation of the mouse F9 teratocarcinoma-derived clonal cell line 1C11. Upon 2 days of induction by cAMP, 5-HT2B receptors become functional, and on day 4, the appearance of 5-HT2A receptors coincides with the onset of active serotonin transporter by these cells. Active serotonin uptake is modulated by serotonin suggesting autoreceptor functions for 5-HT2B receptors.