Chimeras were generated between the human anaphylatoxin C3a and C5a receptors (C3aR and C5aR, respectively) to define the structural requirements for ligand binding and discrimination. Chimetic receptors were generated by systematically exchanging between the two receptors four receptor modules (the N terminus, transmembrane regions 1 to 4, the second extracellular loop, and transmembrane region 5 to the C terminus). The mutants were transiently expressed in HEK293 cells (with or without Gα-16) and analyzed for cell surface expression, binding of C3a and C5a, and functional responsiveness (calcium mobilization) toward C3a, C5a, and a C3a as well as a C5a analogue peptide. The data indicate that in both anaphylatoxin receptors the transmembrane regions and the second extracellular loop act as a functional unit that is disrupted by any reciprocal exchange. N-terminal substitution confirmed the two-binding site model for the human C5aR, in which the receptor N terminus is required for high affinity binding of the native ligand but not a C5a analogue peptide. In contrast, the human C3a receptor did not require the original N terminus for high affinity binding of and activation by C3a, a result that was confirmed by N-terminal deletion mutants. This indicates a completely different binding mode of the anaphylatoxins to their corresponding receptors. The C5a analogue peptide, but not C5a, was an agonist of the C3aR. Replacement of the C3aR N terminus by the C5aR sequence, however, lead to the generation of a true hybrid C3a/C5a receptor, which bound and functionally responded to both ligands, C3a and C5a.