SUBSTANCE P is a peptide neurotransmitter that binds to the neurokinin-1 receptor and is involved in pain transmission and neurogenic inflammation1-4. Recently, a non-peptide substance P antagonist (CP 96345) has been shown to be effective in animal models of pain and inflammation5,6. An understanding of the molecular interactions responsible for ligand binding will be critical for the development of more specific and selective antagon-ists for the neurokinin-1 receptor and for the discovery of new antagonists for related G-protein-coupled receptors. Here we report that histidine at position 197 in the fifth transmembrane helix of the human neurokinin-1 receptor binds specifically to CP 96345 but not to peptide agonists. Substitution of His 197 by different amino acids and analysis of structural analogues of antagonists suggest that His 197 is involved in an amino-aromatic interaction with the benzhydryl moiety of CP 96345.