Metabotropic activities of endomorphin 1, a candidate for endogenous mu-opioid receptor ligands, were examined in comparison with the actions of [D-Ala2, N-Me-Phe4, Gly5ol]-enkephalin/DAMGO, a well-known synthetic mu-opioid agonist. Endomorphin 1 stimulated [35S]GTPgammaS binding to synaptic membranes from the mouse amygdala in a naloxone-reversible manner. DAMGO had the same effect in such preparations. In in situ [35S]GTP-gammaS binding experiments using brain sections, both endomorphin 1 and DAMGO similarly stimulated this binding in specific cellular locations throughout the brain regions. These findings strongly support the view that endomorphin 1 selectively acts on a mu-opioid receptor.