We have previously shown that N18TG2 neuroblastoma cells express the type 6 adenylyl cyclase and that preincubation with nitric oxide (NO) attenuates Gs- and forskolin-stimulated activity. Here we show that this inhibition reflects a direct action of NO on the adenylyl cyclase. Preincubation of N18TG2 cell membranes and insect cell membranes expressing recombinant type 5 and type 6 isoforms with NO donors leads to an inhibition of forskolin-stimulated adenylyl cyclase activity. NO donors do not alter the type 1 (representative of the type 1,3,8 family) or type 2 (representative of the type 2,4, 7 family) isoforms expressed in insect cells, even under conditions of compromised assay conditions or a range of temperatures. Thus, the ability of NO to inhibit adenylyl cyclase stimulation is dependent upon the nature of the isoform present, and appears to represent a unique regulation of the type 5,6 isoform family.