Methionyl-tRNA synthetase (MetRS) from Mycobacterium smegmatis was recombinantly expressed in Escherichia coli and purified using Ni(2+)-affinity and size-exclusion chromatography. Crystals formed readily in the presence of the ligands methionine and adenosine. These two ligands are components of an intermediate in the two-step catalytic mechanism of MetRS. The crystals were produced using the vapour-diffusion method and a full data set to 2.1 A resolution was collected from a single crystal. The crystal belonged to the monoclinic space group C2, with unit-cell parameters a = 155.9, b = 138.9, c = 123.3 A, beta = 124.8 degrees . The presence of three molecules in the asymmetric unit corresponded to a solvent content of 60% and a Matthews coefficient of 3.1 A(3) Da(-1). Structure determination is in progress.