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The purinergic 12 receptor (P2Y12) is a major drug target for anticoagulant therapies, but little is known about the regions involved in ligand binding and activation of this receptor. We generated four randomized P2Y12 libraries and investigated their ligand binding characteristics. P2Y12 was expressed in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae model system. Four libraries were generated with randomized amino acids at positions 181, 256, 265 and 280. Mutant variants were screened for functional activity in yeast using the natural P2Y12 ligand ADP. Activation results were investigated using quantitative structure–activity relationship (QSAR) models and ligand–receptor docking. We screened four positions in P2Y12 for functional activity by substitution with amino acids with diverse physiochemical properties. This analysis revealed that positions E181, R256 and R265 alter the functional activity of P2Y12 in a specific manner. QSAR models for E181 and R256 mutant libraries strongly supported the experimental data. All substitutions of amino acid K280 were completely inactive, highlighting the crucial role of this residue in P2Y12 function. Ligand–receptor docking revealed that K280 is likely to be a key element in the ligand-binding pocket of P2Y12. The results of this study demonstrate that positions 181, 256, 265 and 280 of P2Y12 are important for the functional integrity of the receptor. Moreover, K280 appears to be a crucial feature of the P2Y12 ligand-binding pocket. These results are important for rational design of novel antiplatelet agents.