We have cloned a full length cDNA coding for the activin type IIB receptor (GactRIIB) from the goldfish ovary. GactRIIB shares 73 and 70% amino acid identity in the extracellular domain, and 78 and 80% identity in the intracellular domain with the type IIB receptors of the mouse and Xenopus respectively. The intracellular domain of GactRIIB contains two serine kinase consensus sequences, DFKSRN and GTRRYMAPE, in agreement with the reports in other vertebrates that serine/threonine phosphorylation is involved in activin signal transduction. The identity of GactRIIB was confirmed by transient expression in the COS cells followed by activin binding. Iodinated human activin A bound to the GactRIIB-transfected cells and the binding could be completely inhibited by unlabeled activin. Affinity labeling revealed a band of about 85 kDa, which is in agreement with the reported type II receptors in other vertebrates. Together with the fact that activin is expressed in the goldfish ovary, the cloning of activin receptors from the ovary suggests paracrine and autocrine roles for activin in the goldfish ovarian functions.