OB-R is a high affinity receptor for leptin, an important circulating signal for the regulation of body weight. We identified an alternatively spliced transcript that encodes a form of mouse OB-R with a long intracellular domain. db/db mice also produce this alternatively spliced transcript, but with a 106 nt insertion that prematurely terminates the intracellular domain. We further identified G --> T point mutation in the genomic OB-R sequence in db/db mice. This mutation generates a donor splice site that converts the 106 nt region to a novel exon retained in the OB-R transcript. We predict that the long intracellular domain form of OB-R is crucial for initiating intracellular signal transduction, and as a corollary, the inability to produce this form of OB-R leads to the severe obese phenotype found in db/db mice.