The primary structures of two muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) species, designated as mAChR I and mAChR II, have been elucidated by cloning and sequence analysis of DNAs complementary to the porcine cerebral and cardiac messenger RNAs, respectively. mAChR I and mAChR II expressed in Xenopus oocytes differ from each other both in acetylcholine-induced response and in antagonist binding properties. These results, together with the differential tissue location of the two mAChR mRNAs, have indicated that pharmacologically distinguishable subtypes of the mAChR represent distinct gene products. The primary structures of two additional mammalian mAChR species, designated as mAChR III and mAChR IV, have subsequently been deduced from the nucleotide sequences of the cloned cDNAs or genomic DNAs. We report here that mAChR I and mAChR III expressed in NG108-15 neuroblastoma-glioma hybrid cells, but not mAChR II and mAChR IV, efficiently mediate phosphoinositide hydrolysis, activation of a Ca2+-dependent K+ current and inhibition of the M-current, a voltage-dependent K+ current sensitive to muscarinic agonists.