The extensive amino acid sequence conservation among G protein-coupled receptors has been exploited to clone new members of this large family by homology screening or by PCR. Out of four such receptor cDNAs we cloned recently, RDC7 corresponds to a relatively abundant transcript in the brain cortex, the thyroid follicular cell and the testis. We have now identified RDC7 as an A1 adenosine receptor. The A1 agonist CPA [N6-cyclopentyladenosine] decreased by 80% cAMP accumulation in forskolin-stimulated CHO cells stably transfected with RDC7. Specific binding of another A1 adenosine agonist, [3H]CHA [N6-cyclohexyladenosine], was demonstrated on membranes from Cos cells transfected with a pSVL construct harbouring the RDC7 cDNA insert. The binding characteristics were similar to those of the natural brain A1 receptor. The recombinant and the natural receptors behaved also in the same way in displacement experiments involving a series of A1 adenosine agonists. The binding characteristics of RDC7 were compared to those of RDC8, another orphan receptor recently identified as an A2 adenosine receptor. The two molecular species RDC7 and RDC8 correspond clearly to the A1 and A2 receptor entities defined hitherto on a purely pharmacological basis.