When HeLa cells are fixed with ethanol, extracted with 0.1 N HCl, and incinerated at 540 degrees C, all organic constituents and all ions studied are removed with the exception of iron. The gross outlines of cell structures are preserved and high concentrations of residual ash in interphase nucleoli and mitotic chromosomes suggest that there may be a shift in iron salts during the cell cycle. Experiments with cells isotopically labeled in proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and polysaccharides indicate that the iron is bound to a polysaccharide. Addition of iron chelating agents to living cells causes a selective inhibition of DNA synthesis. These data suggest that iron may play a crucial role in the mitotic process.