Earlier work characterized the binding of the high-affinity cocaine analog 3 beta-(4-125iodophenyl)-tropane-2-carboxylic acid methyl ester ([125I]RTI-55) to membranes prepared from rat caudate. That investigation demonstrated that [125I]RTI-55-labeled serotonin (5-HT) transporters in addition to dopamine (DA) transporters and resolved [125I]RTI-55 binding to 5-HT transporters into two distinct components. In the present study, we characterized [125I]RTI-55 binding to membranes prepared from whole rat brain minus caudate. The first series of experiments established that [125I]RTI-55 labels both DA and 5-HT transporters and that 50 nM paroxetine and either 1000 nM 1-[2-(diphenylmethoxy)ethyl]-4-(3-phenylpropyl)homopiperazine (LR1111) or 500 nM (RTI-120) could be used to block [125I]RTI-55 binding to the 5-HT and DA transporters, thereby generating selective assay conditions for the DA and 5-HT transporters, respectively. Selective lesioning of dopaminergic and serotonergic neurons with intracerebroventricular 6-hydroxydopamine and 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine selectively decreased [125I]RTI-55 binding to DA and 5-HT transporters, respectively, thereby confirming the selectivity of the assay conditions. The ligand-selectivity pattern of the whole brain minus caudate 5-HT transporter correlated significantly with that of the caudate 5-HT transporter, although there were some striking differences for selected test agents. Additional experiments resolved [125I]RTI-55 binding to the 5-HT transporter into two components. A ligand-selectivity analysis of the two components failed to identify a highly selective test agent. In summary, the major findings of the present study are that [125I]RTI-55 labels both DA and 5-HT transporters in membranes prepared from whole brain minus caudate, that 50 nM paroxetine and either 1000 nM LR1111 or 500 nM RTI-120 can be used as a blocking agent to generate selective assay conditions for the DA and 5-HT transporters, respectively, and that [125I]RTI-55 binding to the 5-HT transporter can be resolved into two similar components.