Serotonin plays a key role in the regulation of pharyngeal pumping in nematodes. We have isolated a Caenorhabditis elegans cDNA (C09B7.1b, ser-7b) with greatest identity to the 5-HT7 receptor family. Membranes from COS-7 cells expressing SER-7b exhibit saturable [3H]-LSD binding (Kd = 45 nm) that is inhibited by serotonin (5-HT) and tryptamine, but not by other physiological biogenic amines. Expression of SER-7b in COS-7 cells results in dramatic increase in basal cAMP levels over untransfected cells that is dependent on expression level. 5-HT further elevates cAMP levels in a dose-dependent manner (pEC50 = 7.5 +/- 0.5). Mammalian 5-HT7 receptor inverse agonists reduce constitutive activity, with methiothepin the most potent (pIC50 = 7.8 +/- 0.1). Ser-7::GFP transcriptional fusions reveal that SER-7b appears to be expressed solely in the M4 pharyngeal motorneuron after hatching. This is the first report of a Galphas coupled biogenic amine receptor in nematodes and the localization of SER-7b in the M4 pharyngeal motorneuron suggests that SER-7b may play a role in the regulation of pharyngeal pumping.