The structure of activated pig heart aconitase [citrate(isocitrate) hydro-lyase, EC 188.8.131.52] containing a [4Fe-4S] cluster has been refined at 2.5-A resolution to a crystallographic residual of 18.2%. Comparison of this structure to the recently determined 2.1-A resolution structure of the inactive enzyme containing a [3Fe-4S] cluster, by difference Fourier analysis, shows that upon activation iron is inserted into the structure isomorphously. The common atoms of the [3Fe-4S] and [4Fe-4S] cores agree within 0.1 A; the three common cysteinyl S gamma ligand atoms agree within 0.25 A. The fourth ligand of the Fe inserted into the [3Fe-4S] cluster is a water or hydroxyl from solvent, consistent with the absence of a free cysteine ligand in the enzyme active site cleft and the isomorphism of the two structures. A water molecule occupies a similar site in the crystal structure of the inactive enzyme.