1. The beta-adrenoceptor is one of a number of G protein-coupled receptors which have been proposed to contain seven transmembrane alpha- helices. The function of this receptor appears to be regulated by phosphorylation by a specific enzyme, the beta-adrenoceptor kinase. Synthetic peptides which comprise each of the proposed intra- and extracellular domains of the beta 2-adrenoceptor have been tested as potential substrates and inhibitors of the beta-adrenoceptor kinase. 2. Two peptides which encompass the middle and terminal portions of the carboxyl tail of the receptor served as substrates by beta-adrenoceptor kinase. The kinetics of the phosphorylation reaction, however, suggest that these peptides are 10(6)-fold poorer substrate than the agonist occupied receptor. 3. A number of synthetic peptides also served as inhibitors of beta 2-adrenoceptor phosphorylation by beta-adrenoceptor kinase. In particular, a peptide which comprised the first intracellular loop of the beta 2-adrenoceptor (amino acids 56-74) inhibited most effectively with an IC50 of 40 microM. 4. These results suggest that multiple intracellular regions of the beta-receptor may serve as potential sites of interaction with beta-adrenoceptor kinase. Moreover, these regions may serve as potential targets for the development of specific inhibitors of beta-adrenoceptor kinase which could be used to block homologous desensitization.