Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are members of the transforming growth factor beta superfamily. Several members of this family have been shown to transduce their signals through binding to type I and type II serine-(threonine) kinase receptors. Here we report the cDNA cloning and characterization of a human type II receptor for BMPs (BMPR-II), which is distantly related to DAF-4, a BMP type II receptor from Caenorhabditis elegans. In transfected COS-1 cells, osteogenic protein (OP)-1/BMP-7, and less efficiently BMP-4, bound to BMPR-II. BMPR-II bound ligands only weakly alone, but the binding was facilitated by the presence of previously identified type I receptors for BMPs. Binding of OP-1/BMP-7 to BMPR-II was also observed in nontransfected cell lines. Moreover, a transcriptional activation signal was transduced by BMPR-II in the presence of type I receptors after stimulation by OP-1/BMP-7.