Factor VIIa (VIIa), the serine protease that initiates the coagulation pathways, is catalytically activated upon binding to its cell surface receptor and cofactor tissue factor (TF). This study provides a comprehensive analysis of the functional surface of VIIa by alanine scanning mutagenesis of 112 residues. Residue side chains were defined which contribute to TF binding and factor X hydrolysis. Energetically important binding contacts at the interface with TF were identified in the first epidermal growth factor domain of VIIa (Gln-64, Ile-69, Phe-71, Arg-79) and in the protease domain (Arg-277, Met-306, Asp-309). The observed energetic defects are in good agreement with the corresponding residues in TF, suggesting that the VIIa light chain plays a prominent role in high affinity binding of cofactor. Mutation of protease domain interface residues indicated that TF allosterically influences the active site of VIIa. Stabilization of a labile zymogen to enzyme transition could explain the activating effect of TF on VIIa catalytic function. Residues important for factor X hydrolysis were found in three regions of the protease domain: (i) specificity determinants in the catalytic cleft and adjacent loops, (ii) an exosite near the TF binding site, and (iii) a large electronegative exosite which is in a position analogous to the basic exosite I of thrombin. TF regions involved in factor X activation are positioned on the same face of the TF-VIIa complex as the two exosites identified on the protease domain surface, providing evidence for an extended interaction of TF-VIIa with macromolecular substrate.