ABSTRACT: Imidazoline binding sites are now generally accepted as being receptors. Despite this acceptance, the molecular structure and signal transduction mechanisms of these receptors are still poorly understood. The I1-imidazoline binding site (I1-receptor) is localized to the plasma membrane, but it is not clear if this represents a conventional receptor. It is also not clear if there are multiple forms of the I1-receptor. The signal transduction mechanisms of I1-receptors are similarly unclear, but much progress has been made. Evidence clearly indicates that ligands with high affinity for I1-receptors stimulate a novel signal transduction pathway, phosphatidylcholine-selective phospholipase C, in the rat adrenal medullary tumor cell line PC-12. However, this may not be the case in all cell types as microphysiometry, a novel technique for determining cellular activation, could not detect receptor activation in cultured bovine adrenal medullary cells exposed to a number of imidazolines considered to be agonists at the I1-receptor. This suggests that there is no I1-receptor mediated stimulation of phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C in these cells. By contrast, nicotine-stimulated increases in ion entry were blocked by clonidine. Ion channels have been suggested as another possible I1-imidazoline “receptor” family and may represent the low affinity I1-receptor. I1-Receptor ligands can be shown to bind to, or block, the following members of the ligand-gated ion channel super family, the 5HT3, K+ATP, NMDA, and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. The site of action appears to be the phencyclidine binding site in these channels, but other possibilities cannot be excluded. Molecular modeling suggests that I1-receptor selective ligands share a common three-dimensional structure with phencyclidine, providing a basis for these actions. This suggests that a phencyclidine-binding site motif may represent a novel site of action for I1-receptor ligands and that searches for receptors based on this motif may reveal novel imidazoline “receptors.”