PGE2 exerts potent diuretic and natriuretic effects on the kidney. This action is mediated in part by direct inhibition of collecting duct Na+ absorption via a Ca++-coupled mechanism. These studies examine the role the Ca++-coupled PGE-E EP1 receptor plays in mediating these effects of PGE2 on Na+ transport. Rabbit EP1 receptor cDNA was amplified from rabbit kidney RNA. Nuclease protection assays demonstrated highest expression of EP1 mRNA in kidney, followed by stomach, adrenal, and ileum. In situ hybridization, demonstrated renal expression of EP1 mRNA was exclusively over the collecting duct. In fura-2-loaded microperfused rabbit cortical collecting duct, EP1 active PGE analogs were 10-1, 000-fold more potent in raising intracellular Ca++ than EP2, EP3, or EP4-selective compounds. Two different EP1 antagonists, AH6809 and SC19220, completely blocked the PGE2-stimulated intracellular calcium increase. AH6809 also completely blocked the inhibitory effect of PGE2 on Na+ absorption in microperfused rabbit cortical collecting ducts. These studies suggest that EP1 receptor activation mediates PGE2-dependent inhibition of Na+ absorption in the collecting duct, thereby contributing to its natriuretic effects.