A high-resolution three-dimensional solution structure of the FKBP/ascomycin complex has been determined using heteronuclear multidimensional nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) and a distance geometry/simulated annealing protocol. A total of 43 structures of the complex, including 3 tightly bound water molecules, were obtained using 1958 experimental restraints consisting of 1724 nuclear Overhauser effect (NOE) derived distances, 66 chi 1 and 46 phi angular restraints, and 122 hydrogen bond restraints. The root mean square (rms) deviations between the 43 FKBP/ascomycin solution structures and the mean atomic coordinates were 0.43 +/- 0.08 A for the backbone heavy atoms and 0.80 +/- 0.08 A for all non-hydrogen atoms. Angular order parameters for the family of 43 conformations were calculated to determine dihedral convergence. Order parameters for phi, psi, and chi 1 angles exhibited mean values of 0.98, 0.97, and 0.95, respectively, while the mean of the chi 2 order parameter was 0.63. Comparisons were made between the FKBP/ascomycin complex and two NMR-derived solution structures of unbound FKBP and the X-ray crystal structure of an FKBP/FK506 complex. Differences were observed between the FKBP/ascomycin complex and uncomplexed FKBP for residues 33-45 and 78-92. In contrast, the NMR-derived solution structure of the FKBP/ascomycin complex and the X-ray crystal structure of the FKBP/FK506 complex were very similar. Differences between the two complexes were mainly observed in the conformations of some highly solvent exposed side chains.