We have isolated cDNAs encoding a glutamate receptor subunit, designated GluR5, displaying 40%-41% amino acid identity with the kainate/AMPA receptor subunits GluR1, GluR2, GluR3, and GluR4. This level of sequence similarity is significantly below the approximately 70% intersubunit identity characteristic of kainate/AMPA receptors. The GluR5 protein forms homomeric ion channels in Xenopus oocytes that are weakly responsive to L-glutamate. The GluR5 gene is expressed in subsets of neurons throughout the developing and adult central and peripheral nervous systems. During embryogenesis, GluR5 transcripts are detected in areas of neuronal differentiation and synapse formation.