The signal transduction and pharmacological properties of a metabotropic glutamate receptor, mGluR1, were studied in CHO cells permanently expressing the cloned receptor. mGluR1 stimulated phosphatidylinositol (PI) hydrolysis in the potency rank order of quisqualate greater than L-glutamate greater than or equal to ibotenate greater than L-homocysteine sulfinate greater than or equal to trans-ACPD. This receptor also evoked the stimulation of cAMP formation and arachidonic acid release with comparable agonist potencies. DL-AP3 and L-AP4, the effective antagonists reported for glutamate-stimulated PI hydrolysis in brain slices, showed no appreciable effects on mGluR1, suggesting the existence of an additional subtype of this receptor family. Pertussis toxin and phorbol ester produced distinct effects on the three transduction cascades, implying that mGluR1 independently links to the multiple transduction pathways probably through different G proteins.