The three-dimensional structure of the lectin concanavalin A (Con A) has been determined at 2.0-A resolution by x-ray diffraction analysis. The protomers are ellipsoidal domes of dimensions 42 times 40 times 39 A. Folding of the polypeptide backbone is dominated by the presence of two antiparallel pleated sheets, a twisted sheet of seven strands passing through the center of the molecule and a bowed sheet of six strands which forms the back surface of the monomer. Manganese and calcium ions bind to the protein at adjoining sites to form a binuclear complex of two octahedra sharing a common edge. The ligands for each metal ion are four groups from the NH2-terminal region of the protein and 2 water molecules. The binding site for the inhibitor beta-(o-iodophenyl)-D-glucopyranoside is in a deep cavity which contains distinct hydrophobic and hydrophilic binding subsites. Studies of the binding of beta-(o-iodophenyl)-D-glucopyranoside to Con A in the crystalline state and in solution have indicated that the binding behavior of the protein is somewhat different in the two states.