The metalloenzyme D-xylose isomerase forms well ordered crystals that diffract X-rays to ultrahigh resolution (<1 A). However, structural analysis using X-ray diffraction data has as yet been unable to differentiate between several postulated mechanisms that describe the catalytic activity of this enzyme. Neutrons, with their greater scattering sensitivity to H atoms, could help to resolve this by determining the protonation states within the active site of the enzyme. As the first step in the process of investigating the mechanism of action of D-xylose isomerase from Streptomyces rubiginosus using neutron diffraction, data to better than 2.0 A were measured from the unliganded protein at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center Protein Crystallography Station. Measurement of these neutron diffraction data represents several milestones: this is one of the largest biological molecules (a tetramer, MW approximately 160 000 Da, with unit-cell lengths around 100 A) ever studied at high resolution using neutron diffraction. It is also one of the first proteins to be studied using time-of-flight techniques. The success of the initial diffraction experiments with D-xylose isomerase demonstrate the power of spallation neutrons for protein crystallography and should provide further impetus for neutron diffraction studies of biologically active and significant proteins. Further data will be measured from the enzyme with bound substrates and inhibitors in order to provide the specific information needed to clarify the catalytic mechanism of this enzyme.