The solution conformation of plastocyanin from the green alga Scenedesmus obliquus has been determined from distance and dihedral angle constraints derived by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Structures were generated with distance geometry and restrained molecular dynamics calculations. A novel molecular replacement method was also used with the same NMR constraints to generate solution structures of S. obliquus plastocyanin from the x-ray structure of the homologous poplar protein. Scenedesmus obliquus plastocyanin in solution adopts a beta-barrel structure. The backbone conformation is well defined and is similar overall to that of poplar plastocyanin in the crystalline state. The distinctive acidic region of the higher plant plastocyanins, which functions as a binding site for electron transfer proteins and inorganic complexes, differs in both shape and charge in S. obliquus plastocyanin.