The NMR solution structure of bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (BPTI) obtained by distance geometry calculations with the program DIANA is compared with groups of conformers generated by molecular dynamics (MD) simulations in explicit water at ambient temperature and pressure. The MD simulations started from a single conformer and were free or restrained either by the experimental NOE distance restraints or by time-averaged restraints; the groups of conformers were collected either in 10 ps intervals during 200 ps periods of simulation, or in 50 ps intervals during a 1 ns period of simulation. Overall, these comparisons show that the standard protein structure determination protocol with the program DIANA provides a picture of the protein structure that is in agreement with MD simulations using "realistic" potential functions over a nanosecond timescale. For well-constrained molecular regions there is a trend in the free MD simulation of duration 1 ns that the sampling of the conformation space is slightly increased relative to the DIANA calculations. In contrast, for surface-exposed side-chains that are less extensively constrained by the NMR data, the DIANA conformers tend to sample larger regions of conformational space than conformers selected from any of the MD trajectories. Additional insights into the behavior of surface side-chains come from comparison of the MD runs of 200 ps or 1 ns duration. In this time range the sampling of conformation space by the protein surface depends strongly on the length of the simulation, which indicates that significant side-chain transitions occur on the nanosecond timescale and that much longer simulations will be needed to obtain statistically significant data on side-chain dynamics.