Reconstitution of apoleghemoglobin with zinc protoporphyrin IX is reported. NMR spectra show that the reconstitution is orientation specific and that there is no detectable heme isomerism or conformational heterogeneity. Resonances of heme substituents and distal and proximal amino acid protons have been assigned. Only minor differences in porphyrin-protein packing occur between zinc leghemoglobin and the CO complex of ferrous leghemoglobin. The zinc is five-coordinate and is ligated by the proximal histidine. Comparisons with diamagnetic six-coordinate complexes show that the distal His-61 and Leu-65 side chains move away from the binding site upon coordination of exogenous ligands. Conformational changes are minimal when the ligand is O2.