4(S)-Hydroxyproline (Hyp) residues constitute about 10% of most forms of collagen, the most abundant protein in vertebrates. X-Ray diffraction analysis was used to ascertain how the structure of proline residues is affected by the inductive effect elicited by the hydroxyl group of Hyp residues. N-Acetylproline methylester (1), N-acetyl-4(S)-hydroxyproline methylester (2) and N-acetyl-4(S)- fluoroproline methylester (3) were synthesized, and their crystalline structures were determined at high resolution. The amide bond of crystalline 1 was in the cis conformation, which is the minor isomer in solution, and the pyrrolidine ring of 1 had C gamma-endo pucker. In crystalline 2 and 3 the amide bonds were in the trans conformation, and the pyrrolidine rings had C-exo pucker. The lengths of the bonds between sp3-hybridized carbon atoms in the pyrrolidine ring were significantly shorter in 2 and 3 than in 1, as was predicted by ab initio molecular orbital calculations at the RHF/3-21G level of theory. No significant change in bond length was observed in the other bonds of 1,2 or 3. The pyramidylization of the nitrogen atom increased dramatically in the order: 1 < 2 < 3. Together, these results indicate that electron-withdrawing substituents in the 4-position of proline residues can have a significant influence on the structure of these residues. In particular, the change in pyramidylization suggests that such substituents increase the sp3-character of the prolyl nitrogen atom and could thereby alter the rate of prolyl peptide bond isomerization.