Little is known about the large ectodomain of MET, the product of the c-met protooncogene and receptor for hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF). Here, we establish by deletion mutagenesis that the HGF/SF and heparin-binding sites of MET are contained within a large N-terminal domain spanning the alpha-chain (amino acids 25-307) and the first 212 amino acids of the beta-chain (amino acids 308-519). Neither the cystine-rich domain (amino acids 520-561) nor the C-terminal half of MET (amino acids 562-932) bind HGF/SF or heparin directly. The MET ectodomain, which behaves as a rod-shaped monomer with a large Stokes radius in solution, binds HGF/SF in the absence or presence of heparin, and forms a stable HGF/SF-heparin-MET complex with 1:1:1 stoichiometry. We also show that the ligand-binding domain adopts a beta-propeller fold, which is similar to the N-terminal domain of alphaV integrin, and that the C-terminal half contains four Ig domains (amino acids 563-654, 657-738, 742-836, and 839-924) of the unusual structural E set, which could be modeled on bacterial enzymes. Our studies provide 3D models and a functional map of the MET ectodomain. They have broad implications for structure-function of the MET receptor and the related semaphorin and plexin proteins.