We report the identification of fibronectin receptors on thymocytes and T lymphoma cells. Affinity chromatography of extracts of the T cell lymphoma, WR16.1, on a fibronectin-Sepharose column combined with specific elution using a synthetic peptide containing the cell attachment-promoting sequence, arginine-glycine-aspartic acid, yielded two polypeptide components having apparent molecular masses of approximately 160 kD reduced and 175 and 150 kD nonreduced. Immunoprecipitations from surface-iodinated WR16.1 cells or fibronectin-adherent thymocytes using a rabbit antiserum raised against the fibronectin receptor that is present on human fibroblasts revealed, in each case, the same two radiolabeled components. In contrast, immunoprecipitation from fibronectin-nonadherent T lymphoma cells, designated WR2.3, revealed the presence of only the smaller subunit. Although the lymphocyte receptor and the fibronectin receptor identified on fibroblasts share immunologic determinants, they differ in that the molecular mass of the lymphocyte protein is larger. Moreover, trypsinization of either thymocytes or the WR16.1 T lymphoma cells resulted in a subsequent loss of their ability to adhere to fibronectin-coated substrates and a reduction in the electrophoretic mobility of each of the polypeptide chains of the fibronectin receptor present on their surfaces. These changes, however, were not observed with normal rat kidney fibroblasts or mouse 3T3 fibroblasts in response to trypsinization. The data establish the existence on normal lymphocytes of fibronectin receptors that are quite similar to those found on fibroblasts. The possible function of this molecule on thymocytes is discussed.

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