The solution conformation of acyl carrier protein from Escherichia coli (77 residues) has been determined on the basis of 423 interproton-distance restraints and 32 hydrogen-bonding restraints derived from NMR measurements. A total of nine structures were computed using a hybrid approach combining metric matrix distance geometry and dynamic simulated annealing. The polypeptide fold is well defined with an average backbone atomic root-mean-square difference of 0.20 +/- 0.03 nm between the final nine converged structures and the mean structure obtained by averaging their coordinates. The principal structural motif is composed of three helices: 1 (residues 3-12), 2 (residues 37-47) and 4 (residues 65-75) which line a hydrophobic cavity. Helices 2 and 4 are approximately parallel to each other and anti-parallel at an angle of approximately equal to 150 degrees to helix 1. The smaller helix 3 (residues 56-63) is at an angle of approximately equal to 100 degrees to helix 4.