Annexins are excellent models for studying the folding mechanisms of multidomain proteins because they have four-eight homologous helical domains with low identity in sequence but high similarity in folding. The structure of an isolated domain 1 of human annexin I has been determined by NMR spectroscopy. The sequential assignments of the 1H, 13C, and 15N resonances of the isolated domain 1 were established by multinuclear, multidimensional NMR spectroscopy. The solution structure of the isolated domain 1 was derived from 1,099 experimental NMR restraints using a hybrid distance geometry-simulated annealing protocol. The root mean square deviation of the ensemble of 20 refined conformers that represent the structure from the mean coordinate set derived from them was 0. 57 +/- 0.14 A and 1.11 +/- 0.19 A for the backbone atoms and all heavy atoms, respectively. The NMR structure of the isolated domain 1 could be superimposed with a root mean square deviation of 1.36 A for all backbone atoms with the corresponding part of the crystal structure of a truncated human annexin I containing all four domains, indicating that the structure of the isolated domain 1 is highly similar to that when it folded together with the other three domains. The result suggests that in contrast to isolated domain 2, which is largely unfolded in solution, isolated domain 1 constitutes an autonomous folding unit and interdomain interactions may play critical roles in the folding of annexin I.