1. A spin-labelled AMP derivative and its diamagnetic analogue activate phosphorylase b in the same way, but do not activate phosphorylase a. 2. The electron-spin-resonance spectra of the spin-labelled AMP derivative bound to phosphorylase b and a have "powderlike" characteristics indicating that the spin label is immobilised on the protein. From changes in the electron-spin-resonance spectrum of spin-labelled AMP as phosphorylase b or a is added, the dissociation constants were calculated. 3. The interactions of spin-labelled AMP and the diamagnetic analogue with phosphorylase b and a have been monitored by observing changes in the spectral properties of fluorescent and spin-label probes covalently attached to the enzyme. 4. The dissociation constants of spin-labelled AMP and phosphorylase b or a are 175 +/- 25 muM and 15 +/- 5 muM respectively. Similar dissociation constants are obtained for the diamagnetic analogue. The effect of these AMP derivatives on the covalently attached probe groups and on phosphorylase activity is compared to the effect of AMP and IMP.