Ferric citrate induces ferritin synthesis and accumulation in soybean (Glycine max) cell suspension cultures [Proudhon, Briat & Lescure (1989) Plant Physiol. 90, 586-590]. This iron-induced ferritin has been purified from cells grown for 72 h in the presence of either 100 microM- or 500 microM-ferric citrate. It has a molecular mass of about 600 kDa and is built up from a 28 kDa subunit which is recognized by antibodies raised against pea (Pisum sativum) seed ferritin and it has the same N-terminal sequence as this latter, except for residue number 3, which is alanine in pea seed ferritin instead of valine in iron-induced soybean cell ferritin. It contains an average of 1800 atoms of iron per molecule whatever the ferric citrate concentration used to induce its synthesis. It is shown that the presence of 100 microM- or 500 microM-ferric citrate in the culture medium leads respectively to an 11- and 28-fold increase in the total intracellular iron concentration and to a 30- and 60-fold increase in the ferritin concentration. However, the percentage of iron stored in the mineral core of ferritin remains constant whatever the ferric citrate concentration used and represents only 5-6% of cellular iron.