Soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) is a ferrous iron hemoprotein receptor for nitric oxide (NO). NO binding to the heme activates the enzyme 300-fold. sGC as isolated is five-coordinate, ferrous with histidine as the axial ligand. The NO-activated enzyme is a five-coordinate nitrosyl complex where the axial histidine bond is broken. Past studies using rapid-reaction kinetics demonstrated that both the formation of a six-coordinate intermediate and the conversion of the intermediate to the activated five-coordinate nitrosyl complex depended on the concentration of NO. A model invoking a second NO molecule as a catalyst for the conversion of the six-coordinate intermediate to the five-coordinate sGC-NO complex was proposed to explain the observed kinetic data. A recent study [Bellamy, T. C., Wood, J. & Garthwaite, J. (2002) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99, 507-510] concluded that a simple two-step binding model explains the results. Here we show through further analysis and simulations of previous data that the simple two-step binding model cannot be used to describe our results. Instead we show that a slightly more complex two-step binding model, where NO is used as a ligand in the first step and a catalyst in the second step, can describe our results quite satisfactorily. These new simulations combined with the previous activation data lead to the conclusion that the intermediate six-coordinate sGC-NO complex has substantial activity. The model derived from our simulations also can account for the slow deactivation of sGC that has been observed in vitro.