The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the glial cell line-derived neurotophic factor (GDNF) family of ligands which are a group of ligands within the TGF-beta superfamily of signaling molecules. GDNFs are unique in having neurotrophic properties and have potential use for gene therapy in neurodegenrative disease. Artemin has been shown in culture to support the survival of a number of periferal neuron populations and at least one population of dopaminergic CNS neurons. Its role in the PNS and CNS is further substantiated by its expression pattern in the proximity of these neurons. This protein is a ligand for the RET receptor and uses GFR-alpha 3 as a coreceptor. Four alternatively spliced transcripts have been described, two of which encode the same protein.