Glucagon-like peptide-1(7–36)amide (GLP-1(7–36)amide) is a potent stimulator of insulin secretion. Receptors for this hormone have been found on different insulinoma-derived cell lines, e.g. the RINm5F cell line which is derived from a radiation-induced rat insulinoma. To characterize the part of the GLP-1(7–36)amide molecule that is responsible for binding to its receptor on RINm5F cells, binding studies with synthetic C-terminal (GLP-1(21–36)amide) and synthetic N-terminal (GLP-1(7–25)) GLP-1 fragments were carried out. GLP-1(21–36)amide showed dose-dependent binding to the GLP-1(7–36)amide receptor but was approximately 1500 times less potent in inhibiting binding of 125I-labelled GLP-1(7–36)amide than the intact hormone. GLP-1(7–25) at concentrations up to 10 μmol/l did not inhibit binding of label. Neither fragment changed intracellular cyclic AMP concentrations, in contrast to GLP-1(7–36)amide which increased intracellular cyclic AMP. GLP-1(21–36)amide, however, acted as a weak partial antagonist of GLP-1(7–36)amide with respect to GLP-1(7–36)amide-dependent stimulation of cyclic AMP production.