The gene for the inhibitory G-protein coupled human A3 adenosine receptor (ADORA3) was isolated and sequence analysis shows that the coding region is interrupted by a single intron of size 2.4 kb. The location of this intron in the second intracellular loop is conserved with respect to the A1, A2a and A2b adenosine receptor subtype genes. The ADORA3 gene was mapped to 1p13.3 by fluorescence in situ hybridisation. Northern blot studies show that the gene is widely expressed and is most abundant in brain and some endocrine tissues. We have mapped multiple transcription start sites in two cell lines and lung tissue by primer extension and 5' RACE (rapid amplification of cDNA ends). The ADORA3 gene promoter lacks CAAT and TATA boxes but has putative binding sites for multiple transcription factors. In contrast to the A1 adenosine receptor gene we find no evidence of alternate splicing in the 5' untranslated region of the ADORA3 gene.