Acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) with high affinity for nicotine but no affinity for alpha-bungarotoxin, which have been purified from rat and chicken brains by immuno-affinity chromatography, consist of two types of subunits, alpha and beta. The beta-subunits form the ACh binding sites. Putative nicotinic AChR subunit cDNAs alpha 3 and alpha 4 have been identified by screening cDNA libraries prepared from rat PC12 cells and rat brain with cDNA probes encoding the mouse muscle AChR alpha-subunit. Here we determine the amino-terminal amino acid sequence of the rat brain AChR beta-subunit by protein microsequencing to be the same as amino acid residues 27-43 of the protein which could be coded by alpha 4. Further, we present evidence consistent with a subunit stoichiometry of alpha 3 beta 2 for this neuronal nicotinic AChR.