Angiotensin II is an important effector molecule controlling blood pressure and volume in the cardiovascular system. Its importance is manifested by the efficacy of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors in the treatment of hypertension and congestive heart failure. Angiotensin II interacts with two pharmacologically distinct subtypes of cell-surface receptors, AT1 and AT2. AT1 receptors seem to mediate the major cardiovascular effects of angiotensin II. Here we report the isolation by expression cloning of a complementary DNA encoding a unique protein with the pharmacological specificity of a vascular AT1 receptor. Hydropathic modelling of the deduced protein suggests that it shares the seven-transmembrane-region motif with the G protein-coupled receptor superfamily. Knowledge of the AT1 receptor primary sequence should now permit structural analysis, definition of the angiotensin II receptor gene family and delineation of the contribution of AT receptors to the genetic component of hypertension.