Recent evidence suggest that the N-methyl-D-aspartate (N-Me-D-Asp) channel is functionally and structurally associated with the phencyclidine (PCP) receptor, which mediates the psychotomimetic effects of PCP, sigma opioids, and dioxalanes. To investigate the relationship between N-Me-D-Asp and PCP receptors on a molecular level, we injected mRNA isolated from adult rat brain into Xenopus oocytes. In injected oocytes N-Me-D-Asp application (with glycine) evoked a partially desentizing inward current that was potentiated by glycine and blocked by D-(-)-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (D-APV), by Zn2+ and, in a voltage-dependent manner, by Mg2+. These results show that the distinguishing features of rat brain N-Me-D-Asp channels are reproduced in this translation system. In addition, kainic acid elicited a nondesensitizing inward current at short latency, and quisqualate elicited a delayed oscillatory inward current, presumably mediated by a second-messenger system. Responses to glutamate had both short-latency and delayed components. The PCP derivative N-[1-(2-thienyl)cyclohexyl]piperidine (TCP) blocked the N-Me-D-Asp-evoked current, and its potency was comparable to its binding affinity in rat brain membranes. Onset of block required the presence of antagonist. Antagonism was stereoselective in that the active ligand dexoxadrol was a more effective blocker than its relatively inactive stereoisomer levoxadrol. adrol. Other PCP receptor ligands, (+)SKF-10,047 and MK-801, also blocked. Potencies of compounds active at N-Me-D-Asp and PCP receptors in oocytes were comparable to those obtained previously in electrophysiological and binding assays on neural tissues. These results indicate the coexpression of neuronal PCP and N-Me-D-Asp receptors in Xenopus oocytes.