Heterotrimeric GTP-binding proteins from bovine brain were resolved by fast protein liquid chromatography chromatography using Mono Q columns. Two distinct forms of the protein Go were identified. Both forms had stochiometric amounts of alpha- and beta gamma-subunits. The a-subunits of both forms were recognized by an alpha o-specific antiserum, but not by any of the alpha i-specific antisera. The two forms showed distinct migration patterns on 9% sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels containing 4-8 M urea gradients. Neither form comigrated with the recombinant alpha o1. Both the recombinant alpha o1 and the most abundant form of Go were recognized by an antiserum, H-660, against a peptide encoding amino acids 3-17 of alpha i2. H-660 has been shown previously to recognize alpha o and alpha i (Mumby, S. M., Pang, I. K., Gilman, A. G., and Sternweis, P. C. (1988) J. Biol. Chem. 263, 2020-2026). This more abundant form is called Go A most likely corresponds to the cloned alpha o1. The less abundant form, Go B, was not recognized by H-660. However, both forms of bovine brain Go were recognized by GC/2, an antiserum against the N-terminal region of alpha o1. Hence alpha oA and alpha oB may be different in their N terminus regions. Neither form of bovine brain Go was recognized by an antisera made to a peptide encoding the unique regions of the cloned alpha o2 from HIT cells (Hsu W. H., Rudolph, U., Sanford, J., Bertrand, P., Olate, J., Nelson, C., Moss, L.E., Boyd, A. E., III, Codina, J., and Birnbaumer, L. (1990) J. Biol. Chem. 265, 11220-11226). Go A and Go B have similar guanine nucleotide binding and release properties. Both release GDP within 1 min in the absence of added Mg2+. Both bind guanosine (GTP gamma S) rapidly as well. However Go A binds GTP gamma S about 2.5-fold faster than Go B, in the absence of added Mg2+ ion. Both forms of Go as well as the recombinant alpha o (alpha o1) can increase muscarinic stimulation of inositol trisphosphate-mediated Cl- current in Xenopus oocytes. These data indicate that we have identified two structurally distinct forms of Go that have different guanine nucleotide binding properties and are capable of functioning in the receptor-regulated phospholipase C pathway in Xenopus oocytes.