The NK1 neurokinin receptor presents two non-ideal binding phenomena, two-component binding curves for all agonists and significant differences between agonist affinity determined by homologous versus heterologous competition binding. Whole cell binding with fusion proteins constructed between either Galpha(s) or Galpha(q) and the NK1 receptor with a truncated tail, which secured non-promiscuous G-protein interaction, demonstrated monocomponent agonist binding closely corresponding to either of the two affinity states found in the wild-type receptor. High affinity binding of both substance P and neurokinin A was observed in the tail-truncated Galpha(s) fusion construct, whereas the lower affinity component was displayed by the tail-truncated Galpha(q) fusion. The elusive difference between the affinity determined in heterologous versus homologous binding assays for substance P and especially for neurokinin A was eliminated in the G-protein fusions. An NK1 receptor mutant with a single substitution at the extracellular end of TM-III-(F111S), which totally uncoupled the receptor from Galpha(s) signaling, showed binding properties that were monocomponent and otherwise very similar to those observed in the tail-truncated Galpha(q) fusion construct. Thus, the heterogenous pharmacological phenotype displayed by the NK1 receptor is a reflection of the occurrence of two active conformations or molecular phenotypes representing complexes with the Galpha(s) and Galpha(q) species, respectively. We propose that these molecular forms do not interchange readily, conceivably because of the occurrence of microdomains or "signal-transductosomes" within the cell membrane.