An expression-cloning strategy was used to isolate a cDNA that encodes a protein that confers calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) responsiveness to Xenopus laevis oocytes. A guinea pig organ of Corti (the mammalian hearing organ) cDNA library was screened by using an assay based on the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). The CFTR is a chloride channel that is activated upon phosphorylation; this channel activity was used as a sensor for CGRP-induced activation of intracellular kinases. A cDNA library from guinea pig organ of Corti was screened by using this oocyte-CFTR assay. A cDNA was identified that contained an open reading frame coding for a small hydrophilic protein that is presumed to be either a CGRP receptor or a component of a CGRP receptor complex. This CGRP receptor component protein confers CGRP-specific activation to the CFTR assay, as no activation was detected upon application of calcitonin, amylin, neuropeptide Y, vasoactive intestinal peptide, or beta-endorphin. In situ hybridization demonstrated that the CGRP receptor component protein is expressed in outer hair cells of the organ of Corti and is colocalized with CGRP-containing efferent nerve terminals.