The heat-stable enterotoxin of Escherichia coli (STa) is a potent stimulant of intestinal chloride and bicarbonate secretion. Guanylyl cyclase C (GC-C) has been shown to be the primary receptor involved in mediating this response. However, numerous studies have suggested the existence of an alternative STa-binding receptor. The aims of this study were to determine whether a non-GC-C receptor exists for STa and what is the functional relevance of this for intestinal bicarbonate secretion in mice. 125I-STa-binding experiments were performed with intestinal mucosae from GC-C knockout (KO) and wild type (WT) mice. Subsequently, the functional relevance of an alternative STa-binding receptor was explored by examining STa-, uroguanylin-, and guanylin-stimulated duodenal bicarbonate secretion (DBS) in GC-C KO mice in vitro and in vivo. Significant 125I-STa-binding occurred in the proximal small intestines of GC-C KO and WT mice. Analysis of binding coefficients and pH dependence showed that 125I-STa-binding in GC-C KO mice involved a receptor distinct from that of WT mice. Functionally, STa, uroguanylin, and guanylin all stimulated a significant increase in DBS in GC-C KO mice. Uroguanylin- and guanylin-stimulated DBS were significantly inhibited by glibenclamide, but not by 4,4′-diisothiocyanato-stilbene-2,2′- disulfonic acid (DIDS). However, STa-stimulated DBS was unaffected by glibenclamide but inhibited by DIDS. Taken together, our results suggest that alternative, non-GC-C, receptors likely exist for STa, uroguanylin, and guanylin in the intestines of mice. While uroguanylin- and guanylin-stimulated DBS are cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) dependent, STa-stimulated DBS is CFTR independent. Further understanding of this alternative receptor and its signaling pathway may provide important insights into rectification of intestinal bicarbonate secretion in cystic fibrosis. © FASEB.