[125I]VIP (vasoactive intestinal peptide) bound to apical membranes isolated from the bovine tracheal epithelium with a half maximal inhibition by unlabeled VIP (IC50) of 0.6 × 10-9M and binding was reversible. Glucagon did not affect [125I]VIP binding to the membranes. [125I]VIP was covalently cross-linked to tracheal membrane proteins using disuccinimidyl suberate. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of labeled tracheal membranes revealed one major [125I]-receptor complex of Mr = 71,000 to which binding of [125I]VIP was inhibited by 10 μM unlabeled VIP. These results are consistent with the presence of a specific, high-affinity receptor for VIP, with a Mr = 71,000, in apical membrane vesicles isolated from the bovine tracheal epithelium. © 1989.