The oligopeptide chemoattractant receptor on human polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) membranes exists in two affinity states. Since guanine nucleotides regulate the binding affinity and transductional activity of several other types of receptors, we examined the effect of nucleotides on the binding of N-formyl-methionyl peptides to their receptors on human PMN membranes. The addition of guanylylimidodiphosphate (0.1 mM), a nonhydrolyzable derivative of guanosine triphosphate (GTP), to PMN membrane preparations reduced the fraction of high-affinity receptors detected in equilibrium binding studies from 21.3 +/- 0.13 to 11.8 +/- 0.05% (P less than 0.03), without altering the binding affinities. Since the total number of receptors remained unchanged, the effect of guanylylimidodiphosphate was to convert a portion of the receptors from the high-affinity state to the low-affinity state. At the maximal concentration of guanine nucleotide tested, approximately 50% of the high-affinity sites were converted to low-affinity sites. The findings obtained by equilibrium binding were supported by kinetic studies since the dissociation of the radiolabeled oligopeptide chemoattractant N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-[3H]phenylalanine from PMN membranes was accelerated in the presence of guanine nucleotide. The effect of guanine nucleotides was reversed upon washing, indicating that affinity conversion is bidirectional. The guanine nucleotide effects were greatest with nonhydrolyzable derivatives of GTP followed by GTP then guanosine diphosphate. Neither guanosine monophosphate nor any adenine nucleotide tested had an effect on receptor binding. These data suggest a role for guanine nucleotides in the regulation of stimulus-receptor coupling of chemoattractant receptors on human PMN.