In this study, a large number of receptor mutants were generated and several N-terminally modified galanin analogues synthesized to refine the previously proposed binding site model for galanin to its GTP-binding-protein-coupled receptor GalR1. In addition to ligand-binding studies, the functionality of mutant receptors was evaluated by assessing their ability to mediate galaninergic inhibition of isoproterenol-stimulated adenylyl cyclase activity. The His264Ala and Phe282Ala receptor mutants, although deficient in binding in the concentration range of galanin used, remain functional albeit 20-fold less efficient than the wild-type receptor in mediating inhibition of stimulated cAMP production by galanin. The His267Ala mutant is, apart from being deficient in galanin binding, also severely impaired in functional coupling. While His264 and Phe282 seem to be important in forming the binding pocket for galanin, His267 might play a role in forming or stabilizing the active conformation of the GalR1 receptor rather than directly participating in the formation of the binding pocket for galanin. N-terminal carboxylic acid analogues of galanin have low affinity to wild-type GalR1, but substantially increased affinity to the Glu271Lys receptor mutant. This, together with the finding that an alanine substitution of Phe115 in TM III results in a tenfold decrease in affinity for galanin, suggests that the N-terminus of galanin interacts with Phe115. In contrast to the Phe282Ala mutation in TM VII, a conservative mutation of Phe282 to tyrosine did not alter the affinity for galanin. Thus, the interaction between Tyr9 of galanin and Phe282 is likely to be of an aromatic-aromatic nature.