Assignments are reported for a substantial number of heme and amino acid proton resonances in the 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectrum of the carbon monoxide complex of isolated hemoglobin alpha-chains. These resonances provide information on the solution conformation of the protein, particularly in the vicinity of the heme. The heme pocket structure is generally similar to that of carbonmonoxymyoglobin; several conserved residues adopt virtually identical positions relative to the heme in the two proteins. The largest conformational differences involve residues surrounding the ligand-binding site, notably Val62 (E11) and His58 (E7). The chemical shifts of the proximal His87 (F8) resonances are very similar in spectra of the two proteins, indicating a highly conserved coordination geometry and similar hydrogen bonding to the backbone carbonyl of Leu83 (F4).