Trypsin treatment of recombinant PDGF-BB from Escherichia coli leads to the liberation of a small carboxy-terminal fragment and two internal segments without dissociating the molecule. The remaining core of 21 kDa retained a considerable binding affinity of 8.4 nM. By use of various peptide fragments obtained from monomeric recombinant PDGF-B, a receptor binding domain was assigned to one of these internal trypsin-sensitive segments. This segment is enriched in charged residues, suggesting mainly hydrophilic interactions with the receptor. Circular dichroism measurements of recombinant PDGF-BB showed a high content of random structure and only a small percentage (less than 10%) of alpha-helical structures. This structure was very rigid since the addition of 70% trifluoroethanol or 1% SDS did not change the circular dichroism spectrum. On the basis of these results, a tentative structure was generated by computer modeling.