The adenylate cyclase system, which consists of a catalytic moiety and regulatory guanine nucleotide-binding proteins, provides the effector mechanism for the intracellular actions of many hormones and drugs. The tissue specificity of the system is determined by the particular receptors that a cell expresses. Of the many receptors known to modulate adenylate cyclase activity, the best characterized and one of the most pharmacologically important is the beta-adrenergic receptor (beta AR). The pharmacologically distinguishable subtypes of the beta-adrenergic receptor, beta 1 and beta 2 receptors, stimulate adenylate cyclase on binding specific catecholamines. Recently, the avian erythrocyte beta 1, the amphibian erythrocyte beta 2 and the mammalian lung beta 2 receptors have been purified to homogeneity and demonstrated to retain binding activity in detergent-solubilized form. Moreover, the beta-adrenergic receptor has been reconstituted with the other components of the adenylate cyclase system in vitro, thus making this hormone receptor particularly attractive for studies of the mechanism of receptor action. This situation is in contrast to that for the receptors for growth factors and insulin, where the primary biochemical effectors of receptor action are unknown. Here, we report the cloning of the gene and cDNA for the mammalian beta 2AR. Analysis of the amino-acid sequence predicted for the beta AR indicates significant amino-acid homology with bovine rhodopsin and suggests that, like rhodopsin, beta AR possesses multiple membrane-spanning regions.