To determine the kainate receptor subunits that are found in native kainate receptors, we have applied a multiplex PCR of cDNAs reverse transcribed from mRNA harvested from single cultured hippocampal neurons after electrophysiological recording. We found that all the cells showing rapidly desensitizing currents in response to kainate express the GluR6 subunit mRNA, and that some of them also express the GluR5 subunit mRNA. No GluR7, KA-1, or KA-2 subunit mRNAs were detected. Analysis of the editing sites of the GluR6 mRNA demonstrated that the three editing sites present in these subunits are edited to a different extent. Predominant expression of the unedited variant (Q) was observed, but edited and unedited variants may coexist in the same cell. In addition, we show that the Q/R site from the GluR6 subunit controls functional properties of native kainate receptors.