Radioligand binding studies have revealed four distinct serotonin (5HT) binding sites in rat brain that are thought to function as 5HT receptors. These include the 5HT-1a, 5HT-1b, 5HT-1c, and 5HT-2 binding sites. Studies have shown that the 5HT-2 binding site mediates a number of effects of 5HT agonists and serves as a 5HT receptor in neuronal and non-neuronal tissues. The 5HT-2 site employs phosphoinositide hydrolysis for signal transduction. The 5HT-1c binding site is also a functional receptor that is linked to phosphoinositide hydrolysis. However, the physiological role of the 5HT-1c receptor is not yet known. Lack of appropriate pharmacological tools for probing the 5HT-1a and 5HT-1b binding sites has made it difficult to definitively determine whether these binding sites are coupled to biochemical effector systems or mediate any of the physiological responses to 5HT agonists. However, there is some evidence that the 5HT-1a site is coupled to adenylate cyclase, and a number of functional roles for the 5HT-1a and 5HT-1b sites have been proposed.