Murine macrophages have been described as possessing complement receptors for C3b and iC3b. These binding activities have been assumed to be due to the presence of the CR1 and CR3 proteins, respectively. The mouse Cr2 gene produces two distinct gene products of approximately 190,000 relative molecular mass (M(r)) (Cr2-190) and 145,000 M(r) (Cr2-145). Because of the similarity in size to human complement receptors, the Cr2-190 protein has been dubbed murine CR1 while the murine Cr2-145 product has been termed murine CR2. In order to define the complement receptor genes expressed by murine macrophages, we investigated the expression patterns of Cr2-190, Cr2-145 and another mouse complement receptor, Crry, in three different mouse macrophage populations: bone marrow-derived macrophages, thioglycollate-elicited peritoneal macrophages and the macrophage cell line, J774. Neither of the Cr2 gene transcripts encoding the Cr2-145 and Cr2-190 proteins could be detected in these populations by RT-RPCR analysis although Crry transcripts were evident. Cr2-145 and Cr2s-190 proteins could not be detected on the surface of thioglycollate-elicited macrophages using a monoclonal antibody that recognizes both proteins. Thus, contrary to previously published data, murine macrophages do not possess the Cr2 gene products.