The human follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (FSH-R) consists of two distinct domains of >330 amino acids, the N-terminal extracellular exodomain and membrane-associated endodomain. The exodomain alone binds hormone with high affinity, whereas the endodomain is the site of receptor activation. Coordination of these two domains is essential for successful hormone action but little is known about their functional and structural relationship. In this communication, we report that exoloop 3 of FSH-R constrains follicle- stimulating hormone binding to the exodomain. When the FSH-R exodomain was prepared by truncating its endodomain, the hormone binding affinity of the exodomain was slightly improved, compared with the wild type receptor. The binding affinity was further improved by >3-fold when the exodomain was attached to the membrane-associated domain of CDS. These results suggest that the FSH-R endodomain attenuates hormone binding at the exodomain. As a first step to test this hypothesis, the 11 amino acids except Ala589 of exoloop 3 were individually substituted with Ala. Ala substitution for Leu583 or Ile584 improved the hormone binding affinity by 4-6-fold while totally abolishing cAMP induction, indicating an inverse relationship. The Ala substitution for Lys580 or Pro582 had a similar trend but to a lesser extent. This significant improvement in the binding affinity suggests that the four residues at the N-terminal region of exoloop 3 interact with the exodomain and constrain the hormone binding in the wild type receptor. This effect is specific since substitutions for other than the 4 residues did not improve the hormone binding affinity. Computer modeling shows that the 4 residues can be positioned on one side of exoloop 3. This result and the apparent inverse relationship of hormone binding and cAMP induction suggest that these two essential functions may work against each other. Therefore, hormone binding might be compromised to preserve cAMP inducibility while maintaining a reasonably high, but below maximum, binding affinity.