We have identified and isolated both the rat and human cDNAs for a novel putative receptor related to the interleukin-1 type 1 receptor. We have named this protein interleukin 1 receptor related protein two (IL 1R-rp2). The rat cDNA for IL1R-rp2 was first identified using oligonucleotides of degenerate sequence in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) paradigm with rat brain mRNA as the template. The protein encoded by both of these cDNAs are 561 amino acids long and exhibit 42% and 26% overall identity with the interleukin-1 type 1 and type 2 receptors, respectively. RNase protection assays from rat tissues revealed a predominant expression for IL 1R-rp2 in the lung and epididymis with lower levels detected in the testis and cerebral cortex. By in situ hybridization we were able to determine that the expression in rat brain appeared to be non-neuronal and associated with the cerebral vasculature. When expressed transiently in COS-7 cells the receptor was incapable of high affinity binding to either [125I]-recombinant human IL 1 alpha or [125I]-recombinant human IL 1 beta. Together, these data demonstrate the existence of a novel protein that is related to the interleukin-1 receptor but does not bind IL-1 by itself.