The mono- and diiodinated derivatives of the kappa-selective ligand [D-Pro10]dynorphin(1-11), DPDYN, were prepared. Their binding properties at the three opioid receptor types (mu, delta and kappa) were examined and compared to those of the parent peptide. The monoiodo derivative shows a general although moderate decrease in affinity and retains high kappa selectivity (KI mu/KI kappa = 48 and KI delta/KI kappa = 140). The binding properties of the diiodo derivative are found to be dramatically decreased. Radioiodination of DPDYN leads to the monoiodinated peptide with high specific activity (700-800 Ci/mmol). In guinea-pig cerebellum membranes, a kappa-specific tissue, [125I]-labelled monoiodo[D-Pro10]dynorphin(1-11), 125I-DPDYN, interacts specifically and reversibly with a single class of binding sites (Bmax = 118 fmol/mg protein) with a high affinity (KD = 0.12 nM from equilibrium experiments, 0.18 nM from kinetics studies). Therefore, because of its high specific radioactivity, high affinity and reasonably good selectivity, 125I-DPDYN designates itself as the probe of the k-opioid receptor type.