The differentiation of neuronal cell progenitors depends on complex interactions between intrinsic cellular programs and environmental cues. Such interactions have recently been explored using an immortalized sympathoadrenal progenitor cell line, MAH. These studies have revealed that depolarizing conditions, in combination with exposure to FGF, can induce responsiveness to NGF. Here we report that CNTF, which utilizes an intracellular signaling pathway distinct from that of both FGF and NGF, can collaborate with FGF to promote efficiently the differentiation of MAH progenitor cells to a stage remarkably reminiscent of NGF-dependent, postmitotic sympathetic neurons. We also find that similar collaborative interactions can occur during transdifferentiation of normal cultured chromaffin cells into sympathetic neurons.