Tissue factor is the cellular receptor and macromolecular enzymatic cofactor for the serine protease coagulation factor VIIa. The ligand binding extracellular domain of tissue factor consists of two structural modules which fold similar to fibronectin type III modules, consistent with the classification of tissue factor as a member of the class 2 cytokine receptor family. On the basis of the three-dimensional structure, we here analyze the importance of tissue factor residues for binding of ligand by scanning alanine mutagenesis. The identified significant binding contacts account for as much as 80% of the calculated total free energy of ligand binding. Most residues with energetic contributions to ligand binding are well exposed to solvent, and the area for ligand interaction extends from the cleft formed by the two structural modules (residues Lys20, Ile22, Lys48, Asp58, Arg135, Phe140) to the convex-shaped edge of the three- and four-stranded sheets characterized by a patch of surface-exposed hydrophobic side chains in the amino-terminal module (residues Gln37, Asp44, Trp45, Phe76, Tyr78). The binding residues are dispersed over an extended surface area, indicating adaptation to the recognition of specific structural modules of the macromolecular ligand factor VIIa. This analysis provides detailed insight into the three-dimensional organization of the ligand docking structure of the initiating cofactor for the coagulation pathways.