Aquaporins (AQP) are members of the major intrinsic protein (MIP) superfamily of integral membrane proteins and facilitate water transport in various eukaryotes and prokaryotes. The archetypal aquaporin AQP1 is a partly glycosylated water-selective channel that is widely expressed in the plasma membranes of several water-permeable epithelial and endothelial cells. Here we report the three-dimensional structure of deglycosylated, human erythrocyte AQP1, determined at 7 A resolution in the membrane plane by electron crystallography of frozen-hydrated two-dimensional crystals. The structure has an inplane, intramolecular 2-fold axis of symmetry located in the hydrophobic core of the bilayer. The AQP1 monomer is composed of six membrane-spanning, tilted alpha-helices. These helices form a barrel that encloses a vestibular region leading to the water-selective channel, which is outlined by densities attributed to the functionally important NPA boxes and their bridges to the surrounding helices. The intramolecular symmetry within the AQP1 molecule represents a new motif for the topology and design of membrane protein channels, and is a simple and elegant solution to the problem of bidirectional transport across the bilayer.