We have identified from rat kidney a novel isoform of ROMK/Kir1.1, designated ROMK6/Kir1.1f. ROMK6 was nearly identical to ROMK1, but possessed an 122-bp insertion in the 5' region. Its deduced amino acid sequence was shorter by 19 amino acids than that of ROMK1 in the amino-terminus. Unlike other previously reported ROMK isoforms, ROMK6 mRNA was ubiquitously expressed in various tissues, including kidney, brain, heart, liver, pancreas and skeletal muscle. Xenopus oocytes injected with ROMK6 cRNA expressed a Ba2+-sensitive weakly inwardly rectifying K+ current. These results indicate that ROMK6 is a novel functional K+ channel and might be involved in K+ secretion in various tissue.