We have demonstrated previously that atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) augments urinary, plasma and kidney cGMP levels but has no significant effect upon cAMP. Using cGMP as a marker, we searched for specific target sites involved in the action of ANF in the dog kidney, and observed no change of cGMP in the proximal tubules, a 2-fold increase over basal levels in the thick loop of Henle and a 3-fold elevation in the collecting duct. The most striking action on cGMP occurred in the glomeruli with a rise of up to 50-fold being evident at 1-2 min. after the addition of ANF. The results obtained in the absence or presence of a phosphodiesterase inhibitor support the notion that the effects of ANF were exerted at the level of guanylate cyclase stimulation rather than cGMP phosphodiesterase inhibition. The action of sodium nitroprusside (SNP), a direct stimulator of soluble guanylate cyclase, differed from that of ANF. The ability of the factor to enhance cGMP levels was correlated with the distribution of particulate guanylate cyclase. This study identifies the glomeruli and the distal part of the nephron as specific targets of ANF and implicates particulate guanylate cyclase as the enzyme targetted for the expression of its action.