A three-dimensional structure of the NAD site of Escherichia coli transhydrogenase has been predicted. The model is based on analysis of conserved residues among the transhydrogenases from five different sources, homologies with enzymes using NAD as cofactors or substrates, hydrophilicity profiles, and secondary structure predictions. The present model supports the hypothesis that there is one binding site, located relatively close to the N-terminus of the alpha-subunit. The proposed structure spans residues alpha 145 to alpha 287, and it includes five beta-strands and five alpha-helices oriented in a typical open twisted alpha/beta conformation. The amino acid sequence following the GXGXXG dinucleotide binding consensus sequence (residues alpha 172 to alpha 177) correlates exactly to a typical fingerprint region for ADP binding beta alpha beta folds in dinucleotide binding enzymes. In the model, aspartic acid alpha 195 forms hydrogen bonds to one or both hydroxyl groups on the adenosine ribose sugar moiety. Threonine alpha 196 and alanine alpha 256, located at the end of beta B and beta D, respectively, create a hydrophobic sandwich with the adenine part of NAD buried inside. The nicotinamide part is located in a hydrophobic cleft between alpha A and beta E. Mutagenesis work has been carried out in order to test the predicted model and to determine whether residues within this domain are important for proton pumping directly. All data support the predicted structure, and no residue crucial for proton pumping was detected. Since no three-dimensional structure of transhydrogenase has been solved, a well based tertiary structure prediction is of great value for further experimental design in trying to elucidate the mechanism of the energy-linked proton pump.