The human prostacyclin receptor is a seven-transmembrane α-helical G-protein coupled receptor, which plays important roles in both vascular smooth muscle relaxation as well as prevention of blood coagulation. The position of the native ligand-binding pocket for prostacyclin as well as other derivatives of the 20-carbon eicosanoid, arachidonic acid, has yet to be determined. Through the use of prostanoid receptor sequence alignments, site-directed mutagenesis, and the 2.8-A x-ray crystallographic structure of bovine rhodopsin, we have developed a three-dimensional model of the agonist-binding pocket within the seven-transmembrane (TM) domains of the human prostacyclin receptor. Upon mutation to alanine, 11 of 29 candidate residues within TM domains II, III, IV, V, and VII exhibited a marked decrease in agonist binding. Of this group, four amino acids, Arg-279 (TMVII), Phe-278 (TMVII), Tyr-75 (TMII), and Phe-95 (TMIII), were identified (via receptor amino acid sequence alignment, ligand structural comparison, and computer-assisted homology modeling) as having direct molecular interactions with ligand side-chain constituents. This binding pocket is distinct from that of the biogenic amine receptors and rhodopsin where the native ligands (also composed of a carbon ring and a carbon chain) are accommodated in an opposing direction. These findings should assist in the development of novel and highly specific ligands including selective antagonists for further molecular pharmacogenetic studies of the human prostacyclin receptor.