The solution structure of the 6F11F22F2 fragment from the gelatin-binding region of fibronectin has been determined (Protein Data Bank entry codes 1e88 and 1e8b). The structure reveals an extensive hydrophobic interface between the non-contiguous 6F1 and 2F2 modules. The buried surface area between 6F1 and 2F2 (870 Å2) is the largest intermodule interface seen in fibronectin to date. The dissection of 6F11F22F2 into the 6F11F2 pair and 2F2 results in near-complete loss of gelatin-binding activity. The hairpin topology of 6F11F22F2 may facilitate intramolecular contact between the matrix assembly regions flanking the gelatin-binding domain. This is the first high-resolution study to reveal a compact, globular arrangement of modules in fibronectin. This arrangement is not consistent with the view that fibronectin is simply a linear 'string of beads'.