The gastrointestinal hormones glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) strongly stimulate insulin release. Despite their high N-terminal sequence similarity, GLP-1 does not bind to the GIP receptor and vice versa. To characterize the domains required for interaction of the peptide ligands with their specific receptors, we performed displacement studies with various synthetic GLP-1/GIP hybrid peptides on RINm5F insulinoma cells. Displacement of 125I-GIP and 125I-GLP-1 was measured using GLP-1/GIP chimeras which comprised GIP and GLP-1 sequences at different positions. The binding affinity to the GLP-1 receptor was found to be sensitive to GIP-like exchanges in the N-terminal 22 amino acids as well as in positions 13 and 15 (loss of affinity 280-fold to more than 1000-fold). C-terminal substitution of the GLP-1 sequence by GIP diminished the affinity towards the GLP-1 receptor only 20-fold. All hybrid peptides investigated showed minimal binding affinity for the GIP receptor, indicating that the entire GIP-sequence (1-31) is important for receptor recognition. These findings provide insight into the structural requirements for the specific interaction of two important insulinotropic peptides with their specific receptors.