Hsp90 is one of the most abundant chaperone proteins in the cytosol. In an ATP-dependent manner it plays an essential role in the folding and activation of a range of client proteins involved in signal transduction and cell cycle regulation. We used NMR shift perturbation experiments to obtain information on the structural implications of the binding of AMP-PNP (adenylyl-imidodiphosphate-a non-hydrolysable ATP analogue), ADP and the inhibitors radicicol and geldanamycin. Analysis of (1)H,(15)N correlation spectra showed a specific pattern of chemical shift perturbations at N210 (ATP binding domain of Hsp90, residues 1-210) upon ligand binding. This can be interpreted qualitatively either as a consequence of direct ligand interactions or of ligand-induced conformational changes within the protein. All ligands show specific interactions in the binding site, which is known from the crystal structure of the N-terminal domain of Hsp90. For AMP-PNP and ADP, additional shift perturbations of residues outside the binding pocket were observed and can be regarded as a result of conformational rearrangement upon binding. According to the crystal structures, these regions are the first alpha-helix and the "ATP-lid" ranging from amino acids 85 to 110. The N-terminal domain is therefore not a passive nucleotide-binding site, as suggested by X-ray crystallography, but responds to the binding of ATP in a dynamic way with specific structural changes required for the progression of the ATPase cycle.