The presence and location of bound internal water molecules in the solution structure of interleukin 1 beta have been investigated by means of three-dimensional 1H rotating-frame Overhauser 1H-15N multiple quantum coherence spectroscopy (ROESY-HMQC). In this experiment through-space rotating-frame Overhauser (ROE) interactions between NH protons and bound water separated by less than or equal to 3.5 A are clearly distinguished from chemical exchange effects, as the cross-peaks for these two processes are of opposite sign. The identification of ROEs between NH protons and water is rendered simple by spreading out the spectrum into a third dimension according to the 15N chemical shift of the directly bonded nitrogen atoms. By this means, the problems that prevent, in all but a very few limited cases, the interpretation, identification, and assignment of ROE peaks between NH protons and water in a 2D 1H-1H ROESY spectrum of a large protein such as interleukin 1 beta, namely, extensive NH chemical shift degeneracy and ROE peaks obscured by much stronger chemical exchange peaks, are completely circumvented. We demonstrate the existence of 15 NH protons that are close to bound water molecules. From an examination of the crystal structure of interleukin 1 beta [Finzel, B. C., Clancy, L. L., Holland, D. R., Muchmore, S. W., Watenpaugh, K. D., & Einspahr, H. M. (1989) J. Mol. Biol. 209, 779-791], the results can be attributed to 11 water molecules that are involved in interactions bridging hydrogen-bonding interactions with backbone amide and carbonyl groups which stabilize the 3-fold pseudosymmetric topology of interleukin 1 beta and thus constitute an integral part of the protein structure in solution.