Opening of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) Cl channels requires their phosphorylation by protein kinase A followed by exposure to ATP. We examined the interaction between nucleotides and phosphorylated CFTR channels by recording currents in intact cardiac myocytes and in excised patches. We found that, although the hydrolysis-resistant ATP analogue 5'-adenosine(beta,gamma- imino)triphosphate (AMP-PNP) cannot open phosphorylated CFTR channels, it can cause channels opened by ATP to remain open for many minutes. This suggests that ATP action at one site on CFTR is a prerequisite for AMP-PNP action at a second site. However, this action of AMP-PNP is restricted to highly phosphorylated CFTR channels, which, in the presence of ATP, display a relatively high open probability, but is not seen in partially phosphorylated CFTR channels, which have a low open probability in the presence of ATP. Our findings argue that incremental phosphorylation differentially regulates the interactions between nucleotides and the two nucleotide binding domains of CFTR. The nature of those interactions suggests that ATP hydrolysis at one nucleotide binding domain controls channel opening and ATP hydrolysis at the other regulates channel closing.