Resonance assignments are the first step in most NMR studies of protein structure, function, and dynamics. Standard protein assignment methods employ through-bond backbone experiments on uniformly 13C/15N-labeled proteins. For larger proteins, this through-bond assignment procedure often breaks down due to rapid relaxation and spectral overlap. The challenges involved in studies of larger proteins led to efficient methods for 13C labeling of side chain methyl groups, which have favorable relaxation properties and high signal-to-noise. These methyls are often still assigned by linking them to the previously assigned backbone, thus limiting the applications for larger proteins. Here, a structure-based procedure is described for assignment of 13C1H3-labeled methyls by comparing distance information obtained from three-dimensional methyl-methyl nuclear Overhauser effect (NOE) spectroscopy with the X-ray structure. The Ile, Leu, or Val (ILV) methyl type is determined by through-bond experiments, and the methyl-methyl NOE data are analyzed in combination with the known structure. A hierarchical approach was employed that maps the largest observed "NOE-methyl cluster" onto the structure. The combination of identification of ILV methyl type with mapping of the NOE-methyl clusters greatly simplifies the assignment process. This method was applied to the inactive and active forms of the 42-kDa ILV 13C1H3-methyl labeled extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2 (ERK2), leading to assignment of 60% of the methyls, including 90% of Ile residues. A series of ILV to Ala mutants were analyzed, which helped confirm the assignments. These assignments were used to probe the local and long-range effects of ligand binding to inactive and active ERK2. (Figure Presented).