We have isolated high affinity inositol (1,3,4,5)-tetrakisphosphate (IP4)- and inositol hexakisphosphate (IP6)-binding proteins from detergent- solubilized rat brain membranes using a P1-tethered IP4 derivative linked to an Affi-Gel support. To determine the identity, binding characteristics, and distribution of the individual IP4 recognition sites, we have synthesized an IP4 photoaffinity label probe, 125I-(D,L)-1-O-[N-(4-azidosalicyloxy)-3- aminopropyl-1-phospho]-IP4 (125I-ASA-IP4). Two apparently distinct IP4- binding proteins (IP4BP), isolated with the IP4 affinity column, display high affinity and selectivity for IP4 over inositol trisphosphate (IP3), inositol pentakisphosphate (IP5), and IP6. The first IP4-binding protein (IP4BP1) which has a K(D) for IP4 of 4 nM, is comprised of a protein at 182 kDa which is specifically photolabeled with high affinity by 125I-ASA- IP4. The second, IP4BP2, has an affinity for IP4 of 1.5 nM and contains proteins at 84 and 174 kDa, both of which are specifically photoaffinity labeled. A putative IP6-binding protein (IP6BP), also isolated with the IP4 affinity column, binds IP6 with a K(D) of 14 nM and comprises three proteins of 115, 105, and 50 kDa. The 115- and 105-kDa subunits, but not the 50-kDa subunit, specifically incorporate the photolabel. The IP4BP (182, 174, and 84 kDa) and IP6BP (115 and 105 kDa) proteins are specifically photolabeled in the crude membrane, partially purified, and purified fractions. These receptor-binding proteins vary in inositol phosphate specificity and in the effects of pH, Ca2+, and heparin on IP4 photoaffinity labeling. In addition, IP4BP and IP6BP are enriched in the brain but differ in their regional localizations within the brain.