A heparin binding, cell adhesion promoting domain, termed peptide F-9, from the B1 chain of human laminin, residues 641 to 660, i.e. RYVVLPRPVCFEKGMNYTVR, has been investigated by 1H NMR (500 MHz) spectroscopy and CD spectropolarimetry. While small linear peptides in water solution normally exist in a number of fluctuating conformational states, CD data analysis of peptide F9 indicates the existence of some preferred average structural populations consisting of about 30% beta-sheet, 22% beta-turn, and 6% alpha-helix. NMR structural analysis supports this observation and indicates specific sequences of preferred structural populations. Evidence for these is indicated by the presence of dNN nuclear Overhauser effect (NOE) populations and attenuated or absent d alpha N NOEs at short mixing times (0.1 s), 3J alpha N coupling constants of 5 and 10 Hz, and chemical shifts significantly removed from random coil positions. The NH2-terminal VVL sequence primarily exists in an extended chain conformation by virtue of large d alpha N NOEs and 9-10 Hz 3J alpha N coupling constants. Residues C10-N16 have turn-like or helix character with a run of dNN and d beta N NOEs and attenuated d alpha N NOEs. These midchain reversals include the lysine and asparagine residues proposed to be involved in heparin binding and N-glycosylation, respectively, to laminin peptide F-9.