The partly folded state of apomyoglobin at pH 4 represents an excellent model for an obligatory kinetic folding intermediate. The structure and dynamics of this intermediate state have been extensively examined using NMR spectroscopy. Secondary chemical shifts, (1)H-(1)H NOEs, and amide proton temperature coefficients have been used to probe residual structure in the intermediate state, and NMR relaxation parameters T(1) and T(2) and ¿(1)H¿-(15)N NOE have been analyzed using spectral densities to correlate motion of the polypeptide chain with these structural observations. A significant amount of helical structure remains in the pH 4 state, indicated by the secondary chemical shifts of the (13)C(alpha), (13)CO, (1)H(alpha), and (13)C(beta) nuclei, and the boundaries of this helical structure are confirmed by the locations of (1)H-(1)H NOEs. Hydrogen bonding in the structured regions is predominantly native-like according to the amide proton chemical shifts and their temperature dependence. The locations of the A, G, and H helix segments and the C-terminal part of the B helix are similar to those in native apomyoglobin, consistent with the early, complete protection of the amides of residues in these helices in quench-flow experiments. These results confirm the similarity of the equilibrium form of apoMb at pH 4 and the kinetic intermediate observed at short times in the quench-flow experiment. Flexibility in this structured core is severely curtailed compared with the remainder of the protein, as indicated by the analysis of the NMR relaxation parameters. Regions with relatively high values of J(0) and low values of J(750) correspond well with the A, B, G, and H helices, an indication that nanosecond time scale backbone fluctuations in these regions of the sequence are restricted. Other parts of the protein show much greater flexibility and much reduced secondary chemical shifts. Nevertheless, several regions show evidence of the beginnings of helical structure, including stretches encompassing the C helix-CD loop, the boundary of the D and E helices, and the C-terminal half of the E helix. These regions are clearly not well-structured in the pH 4 state, unlike the A, B, G, and H helices, which form a native-like structured core. However, the proximity of this structured core most likely influences the region between the B and F helices, inducing at least transient helical structure.