The TEL/ARG oncogene is formed by t(1;12)(q25;p13) reciprocal translocation and is associated with human leukemia. We have previously demonstrated that the expression of TEL/ARG in Ba/F3 cells results in prolonged viability and hyper-responsiveness to IL-3. To determine the molecular mechanisms, a series of mutants of TEL/ARG were generated, and each cDNA was expressed in Ba/F3 or CHO cells. The PNT domain in TEL and K317 in ARG were essential for both signaling and biological effects. The SH3 domain in ARG was required for hyper-responsiveness to IL-3, but not for prolonged viability. The opposite was true for the SH2 domain in ARG. Mutation of Y314 in TEL, a putative GRB2-binding site, led to reduced viability, and loss of hyper-responsiveness to IL-3. All biological functions were profoundly impaired with deletion of the C-terminus in ARG, despite maintaining high levels of its kinase activity. When expressed in CHO cells, wild-type TEL/ARG induced the formation of fillopodia, in a fashion dependent on the C-terminal portion and intact kinase activity. Thus, these results suggest several critical domains within TEL/ARG necessary for function, and indicate that the signaling pathways necessary for viability, growth factor hyper-responsiveness and cytoskeletal reorganization are likely to be separate.