The polypyrimidine tract binding protein (PTB) is an important regulator of alternative splicing that also affects mRNA localization, stabilization, polyadenylation, and translation. NMR structural analysis of the N-terminal half of PTB (residues 55-301) shows a canonical structure for RRM1 but reveals novel extensions to the β strands and C terminus of RRM2 that significantly modify the β sheet RNA binding surface. Although PTB contains four RNA recognition motifs (RRMs), it is widely held that only RRMs 3 and 4 are involved in RNA binding and that RRM2 mediates homodimerization. However, we show here not only that the RRMs 1 and 2 contribute substantially to RNA binding but also that full-length PTB is monomeric, with an elongated structure determined by X-ray solution scattering that is consistent with a linear arrangement of the constituent RRMs. These new insights into the structure and RNA binding properties of PTB suggest revised models of its mechanism of action.