The aqueous solution conformation of Tyr-Asn-Ile-Gln-Lys (UB5) corresponding to positions 59-63 of the polypeptide, ubiquitin, has been investigated by proton NMR. Like the parent protein, UB5 induces nonspecifically both T and B lymphocyte differentiation. The various NH and CH resonances of this pentapeptide have been assigned, and its solution conformation has been probed through a study of chemical shift variations with pH, temperature dependence of amide hydrogen chemical shifts, vicinal NH-CαH and CβH-CβH2 coupling constant data, and amide hydrogen-exchange rates. The latter were measured in H2O by using a combination of transfer of solvent saturation and saturation recovery NMR experiments. The data are compatible with the assumption of a highly motile dynamic equilibrium among different conformations for this peptide. The various secondary amide hydrogens remain essentially exposed to the solvent. The temperature-dependence study of the amide hydrogen chemical shifts also did not reveal any strong internal hydrogen bonds. A rotamer population analysis of tyrosine and asparagine side chains suggests that two of the rotomers are predominantly populated for each of these residues. From these results, a picture emerges of the dynamic conformation of UB5 in aqueous solution. © 1981, American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.