The interaction of an optically pure benzomorphan opiate, (-)-N-allyl-N-normetazocine [(-)-ANMC], with the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor from Torpedo electroplaque was studied by using radioligand binding and affinity labeling. The binding was complex with at least two specific components having equilibrium dissociation constants of 0.3 microM and 2 microM. The affinity of the higher affinity component was decreased by carbamoylcholine but not by alpha-bungarotoxin. The effect of carbamoylcholine was not blocked by alpha-bungarotoxin. In comparison, the affinity of [3H]phencyclidine, a well-characterized ligand for a high-affinity site for noncompetitive blockers on the acetylcholine receptor, is increased by carbamoylcholine and the increase is blocked by alpha-bungarotoxin. The binding of (-)-[3H]ANMC was inhibited by a number of other benzomorphans, with (-) isomers being 4- to 5-fold more potent than (+) isomers. Phencyclidine inhibits the binding of (-)-[3H]ANMC to its high-affinity site by a mechanism that is not competitive. UV-catalyzed affinity labeling indicated that the high-affinity-binding site for (-)-[3H]ANMC is at least partially associated with the delta subunit. Tryptic degradation of the Torpedo marmorata delta chain suggested that (-)-ANMC labeled a 16,000-dalton COOH-terminal portion of the subunit. In contrast, 5-azido-[3H]trimethisoquin, a photoaffinity label of the high-affinity site for noncompetitive blockers, labels a 47,000-dalton NH2-terminal fragment of the delta subunit. These results suggest that (-)-[3H]ANMC binds to sites completely distinct from the binding sites for acetylcholine. The high-affinity-binding site for (-)-ANMC and that for phencyclidine and 5-azidotrimethisoquin are allosterically coupled but are regulated differently and are probably physically distinct.