Native x-ray diffraction data from single crystals of inactive aconitase from pig heart (Mr 80,000) have been collected on oscillation films to 2.7 A. Analysis shows that significant measurements of the anomalous scattering signal from the Fe-S cluster in the enzyme are available in the film data. The 5.0-A resolution anomalous difference Patterson function contains vectors for one Fe-S cluster (one aconitase molecule) per asymmetric unit in space group P2(1)2(1)2 with a = 173.6, b = 72.0, and c = 72.7 A. At 2.7-A resolution, the vector map is best interpreted by three Fe sites separated from each other by less than 3 A. The single-crystal diffraction data thus confirm the presence of a 3Fe center in the inactive form of aconitase. Furthermore, the data provide crystallographic evidence that 3Fe clusters exhibit structural heterogeneity. The Fe-Fe vectors cannot be interpreted in terms of 4-A distances as observed for the [3Fe-3S] cluster in Azotobacter ferrodoxin (Ghosh, D., O'Donnell, S., Furey, W., Robbins, A. H., and Stout, C. D. (1982) J. Mol. Biol. 158, 73-109). The results are therefore in agreement with a [3Fe-4S] cluster having 2.7-A Fe-Fe distances (Beinert, H., Emptage, M. H., Dreyer, J.-L., Scott, R. A., Hahn, J. E., Hodgson, K. O., and Thomson, A. J. (1983) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 80, 393-396). However, the data do not unambiguously discriminate between this model and other 3Fe clusters having short Fe-Fe distances.