1 We studied the pharmacological properties of native rat brain and heterologously expressed rat alpha4beta2 nicotinic receptors immunoprecipitated onto a fixed substrate with the anti-alpha4 antibody mAb 299. 2 Immunodepletion with the anti-beta2 antibody mAb 270 showed that 89% of the mAb-299-precipitated rat brain receptors contained beta2. 3 The association and dissociation rate constants for 30 pM +/-[3H]-epibatidine binding to alpha4beta2 receptors expressed in oocytes were 0.02+/-0.01 and 0.03+/-0.01 min-1 (+/-standard error, degrees of freedom=7 - 8) at 20 - 23 degrees C. 4 The Hill coefficients for +/-[3H]epibatidine binding to the native brain, alpha4beta2 receptors expressed in oocytes, and alpha4beta2 receptors expressed in CV-1 cells (using recombinant adenovirus) were 0.69 - 0.70 suggesting a heterogeneous receptor population. Fits of the +/-[3H]-epibatidine concentration-binding data to a two-site model gave KD s of 8 - 30 and 560 - 1,200 pM. The high-affinity sites comprised 73 - 74% of the native brain and oocyte alpha4beta2 receptor population, 85% of the CV-1 alpha4beta2 receptor population. 5 The expression of rat alpha4beta2 receptors in CV-1 cells using vaccinia viral infection-transfection resulted in a more homogeneous receptor population (Hill coefficient of 1. 0+/-0.2). Fits of the +/-[3H]-epibatidine binding data to a single-site model gave a KD of 40+/-3 pM. 6 DHbetaE (IC50=260-470 nM) and the novel nicotine analogue NDNI (IC50=7-10 microM) inhibited 30 pM+/-[3H]-epibatidine binding to the native brain and heterologously expressed alpha4beta2 receptors equally well. 7 The results show that alpha4beta2-containing nicotinic receptors in the rat brain and heterologously expressed rat alpha4beta2 receptors have similar affinities for +/-[3H]-epibatidine, DHbetaE, and NDNI.