The type 1 metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR1) is through to act via the phosphoinositide (PI) system with the associated formation of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) and Ca2+ release. Utilizing immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization, we have localized protein and mRNA, respectively, for the mGluR1 and the IP3 receptor (IP3R). We have also localized glutamate-linked PI turnover by autoradiography with 3H-cytidine. We observe a striking contrast in localizations of mGluR1 and IP3R both for protein and mRNA. For instance, mGluR1 occurs in the apparent absence of IP3R in neurons of the stratum oriens of the CA1 hippocampus, islands of Calleja, anterodorsal nucleus of thalamus, lateral nucleus of hypothalamus, and the granular cell layer and the deep nuclei of cerebellum. mGluR1 actions in these brain regions may primarily be mediated through the protein kinase C limb of the PI system, as they contain moderate amounts of 3H-phorbol ester binding. The subthalamic nucleus, red nucleus, and Darkshevich's nucleus, which possess high levels of mGluR1, are devoid of both IP3R immunoreactivity and 3H-phorbol ester binding. These reciprocal localizations suggest that mGluR1 actions in many brain areas may not primarily involve IP3, reflecting instead influences on protein kinase C or other second messengers.