The aqueous solution conformation of Arg-Lys-Asp-Val-Tyr (TP5), corresponding to positions 32-36 of the thymic hormone thymopoietin has been investigated by proton nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). This pentapeptide fragment retains the biological activity of the parent protein, viz., induction of selective differentiation of T lymphocytes. All the observed NH and CH resonances of TP5 have been assigned, and the solution conformation of this peptide has been investigated by analysis of chemical shift variations with pH, vicinal NH-CαH coupling constant data, and amide hydrogen exchange rates. The latter were measured in H2O by using acombination technique consisting of the 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 TP5. A comparison of the amide hydrogen exchange rates of the pentapeptide with that of solvated model compounds shows that Val4-NH is significantly shielded from the solvent. In addition, the chemical shift variations with pH suggest that the guanidino- of arginine is associated with one of the carboxylate groups. These observations provide specific boundary conditions for the construction of molecular models of the conformation(s) of TP5 in aqueous solution. © 1980, American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.