We have recently cloned a novel human receptor tyrosine kinase, tie, from human leukemia cells showing megakaryoblastoid differentiation. We report here that the 4.4-kb tie messenger RNA (mRNA) is present in all human fetal and mouse embryonic tissues. By in situ hybridization, the tie mRNA was localized to the endothelia of blood vessels and endocardium of 9.5- to 18.5-day mouse embryos. However, tie was not expressed by endothelial cells of developing hepatic sinusoids. Increased tie mRNA signal was seen in proliferating ovarial capillaries during hormone-induced superovulation. Only a weak tie signal was obtained from adult skin, except during wound healing, when the proliferating capillaries in the granulation tissue contained abundant tie RNA. These results suggest that tie may have a role in neovascularization.