Four variants of arcelin, an insecticidal seed storage protein of bean, Phaseolus vulgaris L., were investigated. Each variant (arcelin-1, -2, -3, and -4) was purified, and solubilities and Mrs were determined. For arcelins-1, -2, and -4, the isoelectric points, hemagglutinating activities, immunological cross-reactivities, and N-terminal amino acid sequences were determined. On the basis of native and denatured Mrs, the variants were classified as being composed of dimer protein (arcelin-2), tetramer protein (arcelins-3 and -4), or both dimer and tetramer proteins (arcelin-1). Although the dimer proteins (arcelins-1d and -2) could be distinguished by Mrs and isoelectric points, they were identical for their first 37 N-terminal amino acids and had similar immunological cross-reactions, and bean lines containing these variants had a DNA restriction fragment in common. The tetramer proteins arcelin-1t and arcelin-4 also could be distinguished from each other based on Mrs and isoelectric points; however, they had similar immunological cross-reactions and they were 77 to 93% identical for N-terminal amino acid composition. The similarities among arcelin variants, phytohemagglutinin, and a bean α-amylase inhibitor suggest that they are all encoded by related members of a lectin gene family.