It has been suggested that epidermal growth factor-like (EGF-like) domains, containing conserved carboxylate residues, are responsible for the high-affinity calcium binding exhibited by a number of vitamin K-dependent plasma proteins involved in the control of the blood coagulation cascade. These include the procoagulant factors IX and X, and the anticoagulants protein C and protein S. To test this hypothesis we have expressed the first EGF-like domain from human factor IX (residues 46-84) using a yeast secretion system, and examined calcium binding to the domain. Using 1H-NMR to measure a calcium-dependent shift assigned to Tyr69 we have detected a high-affinity calcium binding site (Kd = 200-300 microM). We suggest that other EGF-like domains of this type may have similar calcium binding properties. In addition, we have completely assigned the aromatic region of the NMR spectrum by NOESY and COSY analysis, and have used these data to discuss the effect of calcium and pH on the conformation of the domain with reference to a model based on the structure of human EGF.