Recent efforts in our laboratory have focused on cloning the molecular components involved in the cAMP-mediated pathway of olfactory signal transduction. These efforts have resulted in the isolation of olfactory-specific forms of a G protein, an adenylyl cyclase, and a cyclic nucleotide-gated cation channel. Functional expression of each of these proteins in vitro confirms their ability to carry out the function ascribed to them as part of a second-messenger cascade. Putative odorant-receptor molecules which constitute the first step in odorant signal transduction have now been cloned. We have generated oligonucleotide probes which recognize a population of olfactory receptors apparently more heterogeneous than those previously reported. These probes should enable us to answer questions regarding the number of different receptors expressed per cell as well as the nature of receptor-ligand specificity.