The ability of the human 5-hydroxytryptamine serotonin type 5A (h5-ht(5A)) receptor to couple to G proteins from distinct families was investigated through the simultaneous infection of Spodoptera frugiperda 9 insect cells with recombinant baculoviruses encoding the various proteins. Expression of G proteins was demonstrated in immunoblots. Receptor-G protein coupling was monitored by high-affinity agonist binding and agonist-induced stimulation of [(35)S]guanosine-5'-O-(3-thio) triphosphate binding to membranes. Receptors expressed alone displayed low-affinity agonist binding, and endogenous G proteins were only poorly stimulated on the addition of 5-hydroxytryptamine. When receptors were coexpressed with mammalian G(i)/G(o) proteins (Galpha(i) or Galpha(o) plus Gbeta(1)gamma(2)), the coupled phenotype was achieved: agonists bound with high affinity in a guanosine-5'-(beta, gamma-imido)triphosphate-sensitive manner and stimulated [(35)S]guanosine-5'-O-(3-thio)triphosphate binding to high levels. These effects were not observed on coexpression with G(z)/G(s)/G(q/11/16) or G(12/13). Various ligands were evaluated for their agonistic, antagonistic, or inverse agonistic behavior in both receptor binding and activation assays. Although G(o) displayed different receptor coupling characteristics than G(i) proteins, no clear coupling preference was evident. Coexpression of receptors and Galpha(i) subunits without Gbeta(1)gamma(2) produced increases in both agonist affinity and maximum G protein activation that were smaller than those in the presence of Gbeta(1)gamma(2), suggesting that Gbeta(1)gamma(2) coexpression improves receptor-G protein coupling. Similarly, coexpression of receptors with Gbeta(1)gamma(2) alone resulted in an improved interaction with endogenous G proteins. Our results demonstrate that h5-ht(5A) receptors expressed in Spodoptera frugiperda 9 cells selectively and functionally couple to coexpressed mammalian G(i) and G(o) proteins.