The mammalian bombesin-like peptides, gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) and neuromedin B (NMB), are structurally related neuropeptides that elicit a wide spectrum of biological activities including regulation of smooth muscle contraction, stimulation of secretion, modulation of neural activity, and growth regulation. Earlier studies have shown that GRP and NMB are expressed in different regions of both the CNS and peripheral organs. Recent ligand-binding and molecular-cloning studies have revealed two pharmacologically distinct G-protein-coupled receptor subtypes for mammalian bombesin-like peptides that have different relative affinities for GRP, NMB and bombesin receptor antagonists. Similar to the peptide ligands, the two receptor subtypes are expressed in a distinct but overlapping set of CNS regions, some of which have been identified in functional studies as sites where bombesin peptides elicit defined biological responses. Delineation of these peptide ligands and receptor subtypes will be important in future studies that explore the molecular basis for the heterogeneous nature of the responses to bombesin observed in mammalian systems.