The distribution of calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CRLR) mRNA in developing rats was investigated by in situ hybridization. Signals were found in the piriform cortex, the central and basolateral amygdala and the amygdalostriatal transition area. Among peripheral organs, the CRLR was predominantly expressed in the lung. mRNA expression in blood vessels, liver, midgut, rectum and urethra was restricted to gestational days 16 and/or 20. The CRLR was thought to be a calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) type 1 receptor (Aiyar et al., J. Biol. Chem., 271 (1996) 11325-11329). This contrasts with previously reported evidence that the CRLR is an orphan receptor with no identifiable interactions with CGRP and other related ligands (Flühmann et al., Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun., 206 (1995) 341-347). In situ hybridization signals have not been detected in the cerebellum and the spleen known to present a high density of CGRP binding sites. The different regional distribution of CGRP receptor binding sites and CRLR mRNA implies the latter encoding a different CGRP receptor subtype.