The heterodimeric CGRP receptor requires co-expression of calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CRLR) and an accessory protein called receptor activity-modifying protein (RAMP) 1 (McLatchie, L. M., Fraser, N. J., Main, M. J., Wise, A., Brown, J., Thompson, N., Solari, R., Lee, M. G., and Foord, S. M. (1998) Nature 393, 333-339). Several non-peptide CGRP receptor antagonists have been shown to exhibit marked species selectivity, with >100-fold higher affinities for the human CGRP receptor than for receptors from other species (Doods, H., Hallermayer, G., Wu, D., Entzeroth, M., Rudolf, K., Engel, W., and Eberlein, W. (2000) Br. J. Pharmacol. 129, 420-423; Edvinsson, L., Sams, A., Jansen-Olesen, I., Tajti, J., Kane, S. A., Rutledge, R. Z., Koblan, K. S., Hill, R. G., and Longmore, J. (2001) Eur. J. Pharmacol. 415, 39-44). This observation provided an opportunity to map the determinants of receptor affinity exhibited by BIBN4096BS and the truncated analogs, Compounds 1 and 2. All three compounds exhibited higher affinity for the human receptor, human CRLR/human RAMP1, than for the rat receptor, rat CRLR/rat RAMP1. We have now demonstrated that this species selectivity was directed exclusively by RAMP1. By generating recombinant human/rat CRLR/RAMP1 receptors, we demonstrated that co-expression of human CRLR with rat RAMP1 produced rat receptor pharmacology, and vice versa. Moreover, with rat/human RAMP1 chimeras and site-directed mutants, we have identified a single amino acid at position 74 of RAMP1 that modulates the affinity of small molecule antagonists for CRLR/RAMP1. Replacement of lysine 74 in rat RAMP1 with tryptophan (the homologous amino acid in the human receptor) resulted in a > or =100-fold increase in antagonist affinities, similar to the K(i) values for the human receptor. These observations suggest that important determinants of small molecule antagonist affinity for the CGRP receptor reside within the extracellular region of RAMP1 and provide evidence that this receptor accessory protein may participate in antagonist binding.