We isolated and sequenced 6.3 kb of cDNA encoding that rat glucocorticoid receptor, a protein that binds and activates a class of hormone-dependent transcriptional enhancers. Receptor-containing cells produce receptor mRNAs of approximately equal to 6.5 kb and approximately equal to 4.8 kb that differ only in their 3' nontranslated regions; an open reading frame of 795 amino acids resides within the 5' portion of the transcripts. The coding region was expressed in vitro, in transient transfections, and in stable transfectants of a receptor-deficient cell line. The protein products are indistinguishable from bona fide receptor with respect to sedimentation and electrophoretic mobility, antibody reactivity, and hormone and DNA binding. Moreover, the cloned receptor protein activates its corresponding enhancers, restoring to the receptor-deficient cells the full capacity for regulated enhancement.