The solution structure of apo calbindin D9K, a member of the calmodulin superfamily of calcium-binding regulatory proteins, has been investigated by 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and the results compared with a corresponding study of the calcium-loaded protein. On the basis of complete sequence-specific assignments, characteristic patterns of short proton-proton distances have been identified in two-dimensional nuclear Overhauser effect spectra, allowing the elements of secondary structure to be determined. It is found that four helices and a short section of antiparallel beta-sheet are present regardless of the calcium content of the protein. In addition, a preliminary analysis of the long-range nuclear Overhauser effects shows that the global folding patterns are the same and that the tertiary structures of the apo protein is very similar to that of the calcium-loaded protein. These results are in stark contrast to a number of very substantial changes in 1H chemical shift. Preliminary studies of protein dynamics show some very large differences in flexibility and internal mobility. This suggests that protein dynamics may play a role more important than was initially realized in the function of calbindin D9K and other homologous calcium-binding regulatory proteins.