Experiments over the past decade in which NGF/TrkA signaling has been abolished by antibodies or targeted gene mutations have shown that 70- 85% of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons require NGF for survival during development. There is consensus that many of the NGF-dependent neurons are small-diameter, peptidergic neurons subserving nociception. These neurons express the signaling receptor for NGF, TrkA. There is a major discrepancy, however, between the percentage of DRG neurons which require NGF for survival (70–85%) and percentage of DRG neurons expressing TrkA receptors (40–50%). The identity of these non-TrkA expressing, NGF-dependent neurons has not been established. A candidate group is a population of small DRG neurons with unmyelinated axons which bind BSI isolectins from the plant, Bandeiraea simplicifolia. We show here that most of these BSI-binding DRG neurons do not express TrkA in adult mice. However, in mutant mice in which NGF/TrkA signaling has been abolished by inactivation of the trkA gene, BSI-staining in the DRG and dorsal horn is completely eliminated. BSI-binding DRG cells are thus the first identified neuronal population in which cells do not express TrkA in maturity, but require NGF/TrkA signaling for survival during embryonic development. These neurons must either depend on NGF via a novel, indirect mechanism or alternatively, downregulate TrkA expression during development.