Mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases have been proposed to play a critical role in receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK)-mediated signal transduction pathways. Although genetic and biochemical studies of RTK pathways in Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster and mammals have revealed remarkable similarities, a genetic requirement for MAP kinases in RTK signaling has not been established. During retinal development in Drosophila, the sevenless (Sev) RTK is required for development of the R7 photoreceptor cell. Components of the signal transduction pathway activated by Sev in the R7 precursor include proteins encoded by the gap1, drk, Sos, ras1 and raf loci. In this report we present evidence that a Drosophila MAP kinase, ERK-A, is encoded by the rolled locus and is required downstream of raf in the Sev signal transduction pathway.