Calcitonin (CT), a polypeptide hormone, regulates calcium homeostasis by activating surface receptors coupled to stimulation of adenylyl cyclase in bone and kidney cells. CT has also been reported to increase cytoplasmic Ca2+ in osteoclasts and renal tubule cells. Signaling pathways activated by a recombinant porcine renal calcitonin receptor transiently expressed in HEK-293 cells were studied. In cells expressing the recombinant CT receptor, salmon CT stimulated cAMP accumulation (EC50, 0.16 nM) and synthesis of inositol phosphates (IP; EC50, 3.7 nM). Two other recombinant receptors, the m1-muscarinic acetylcholine receptor and the LH receptor, activated synthesis of either IP or cAMP, respectively, but not both. Stable expression of the CT receptor in a CT receptor-deficient cell line, M18, restored the cells' ability to increase cytoplasmic Ca2+ in response to salmon CT. These results show that a single recombinant CT receptor can independently activate effector pathways mediated by cAMP and IP/Ca2+.