Two species of the cDNAs encoding murine IL-6-R (one is abnormal and the other authentic) have been cloned from a plasmacytoma cell line, P3U1, and BALB/c mouse spleen cDNA libraries. In the cDNA encoding the abnormal IL-6-R, the region corresponding to an intracytoplasmic domain was replaced with a part of the long terminal repeat of the intracisternal A particle gene (IAP-LTR). The authentic IL-6-R consists of 460 amino acids with the domain of the Ig superfamily. The overall homology between murine and human IL-6-R was 69 and 54% at DNA and protein levels, respectively. The extracellular domain after the Ig-like domain of murine IL-6-R was found to have an homology with those of murine erythropoietin R, human IL-2-R beta chain, murine IL-4-R, and human granulocyte-macrophage CSF-R, as in the case of human IL-6-R, and these receptors have been classified as members of the IL receptor family. In P3U1 cells, the expression of the mRNA encoding abnormal IL-6-R was much higher than that of the mRNA encoding authentic IL-6-R. An IL-6-dependent human T cell line, KT-3, which did not respond to murine IL-6, acquired the responsiveness to murine IL-6 when transfected with the cDNA encoding abnormal IL-6-R, indicating that abnormal IL-6-R lacking a normal cytoplasmic domain can function. Since IL-6 functions as a potent growth factor for murine plasmacytomas, over-expression of abnormal IL-6-R may function as a positive selection element for the development of certain plasmacytomas.