PYY receptors were characterized and their loci determined in canine small intestine. The density of 125I-labeled peptide tyrosine tyrosine (PYY) binding was highest in myenteric (MY) and submucosal (SUB) plexus fractions enriched in synaptosomes. Two binding sites [high affinity (H) and low affinity (L)] were found in the submucosal synaptosome-enriched membrane: dissociation constant (Kd)H = 7.6 pM, maximal binding capacity (Bmax)H = 28 fmol/mg; KdL = 0.18 nM, BmaxL = 120 fmol/mg protein. The binding of 125I-PYY reached a maximum within 30 min; dissociation was incomplete in the presence of unlabeled PYY. The rate of dissociation was enhanced after exposure of synaptosomes to guanosine 5'-O-(3-thiotriphosphate). Binding of 125I-PYY was completely inhibited by neuropeptide Y (NPY)-(13-36) (in SUB and MY) and by [Leu31,Pro34]NPY (in MY) but only partially by [Leu31,Pro34]NPY in SUB, suggesting the presence of Y2 receptor in SUB and the presence of Y1 and Y2 receptors in MY. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis of the PYY receptor complex revealed a radioactive band at 70 kDa. The PYY receptors in the canine small intestinal myenteric and submucosal plexus correspond in location to that of PYY in synaptosomes and are coupled with G proteins. Different subtypes are present in different loci.