The subunit structure and complete amino acid sequence of the lectin extracted from Lens culinaris (LcL) seeds was determined. In previous studies, the primary structure of the alpha-chain (Mr = 5,710) was shown to be homologous to the alpha-chain of the lectin from Pisum sativum, the Vicia cracca glucose-specific lectin, and a region in the middle of the concanavalin A sequence (residues 70-121). The complete amino acid sequence of the beta-chain (Mr = 17,572) has been determined from 11 tryptic peptides, 4 peptides derived by chemical cleavage of the beta-chain at its three tryptophan residues, 11 peptides obtained after digestion with Staphylococcus aureus protease, and 5 tryptic peptides from the succinylated polypeptide chain. The extensive homologies by alignment of the alpha- and beta-chains of the L. culinaris lectin with portions of concanavalin A situated between 1 to 45 and 70 to 237, suggest that the L. culinaris and Canavalia ensiformis lectins have evolved from each other. A comparison was made between the secondary structure of the C. ensiformis lectin and the probable secondary structure of the L. culinaris lectin as predicted by two different methods. The results indicate that the folding of these two polypeptides has been particularly well conserved during evolution. It is suggested that the L. culinaris lectin is synthesized as a single polypeptide chain and cleaved subsequently into two or possibly three fragments, two of which would be alpha and beta and the third a fragment homologous to portion 46 to 69 in concanavalin A. As in favin, the amino acids postulated to be involved in the formation of the hydrophobic cavity and the sugar and metal binding sites are highly conserved in L. culinaris lectin.