The conformation of the cyclic portion (7-23) of naturally occurring rat atrial natriuretic factor, ANF(1-28), has been examined in sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) micelles using high-resolution NMR techniques. Evidence is presented which shows that ANF(7-23) has several regions of definable structure in SDS micelles which were not observed in earlier studies in bulk solvents. The 1H NMR resonances of ANF(7-23) in SDS micelles were assigned using sequential assignment techniques, and the conformational properties were analyzed primarily from proton-proton distances obtained from the quantitative analysis of two-dimensional nuclear Overhauser effect spectra. Three-dimensional structures consistent with the NMR data were generated by using distance geometry and constrained minimization/dynamics. Several similar but not identical structures were found which adequately satisfied the NMR constraints. Although none of the structures adopted a standard secondary structure, the conformations of three different sections of the peptide, 8-13, 14-17, and 18-21, were nearly identical in all of the predicted structures when individually superimposed.