This review summarizes recent advances in the molecular characterization of prostanoid receptors. Prostanoids exert versatile actions in diverse tissues and cells through specific cell surface receptors. Molecular biological studies revealed the primary structure of eight types and subtypes of prostanoid receptor from various species. These include the thromboxane A2 receptor, prostacyclin receptor, prostaglandin (PG) F receptor, PGD receptor and four subtypes of PGE receptors. They are coupled to different signal transduction systems. In addition, multiple isoforms of PGE receptor EP3 subtype have been identified in various species. They are produced through alternative RNA splicing from a single gene and differ only in their carboxy-terminal tails. These isoforms differ in the efficiency of G protein activation, in the specificity of coupling to G proteins or in sensitivity to desensitization. This molecular characterization is useful for understanding the diverse physiological roles of prostanoids.