Studies were carried out on the interactions of uncharged latex beads (0.76 micrometer) with baby hamster kidney cells. Binding of beads to the cells occurred if the beads were coated by cold insoluble globulin (CIG) (plasma fibronectin) but not if the beads were coated by bovine albumin. Bovine albumin-coated beads did not bind to the cells even in the presence of excess CIG in the incubation medium. Binding of beads occurred randomly over the entire surfaces of cells in suspension. However, cell receptors for CIG beads were no longer detectable on the upper surface of cells spread onCIG-coated tissue culture dishes. Binding of CIG beads to cells occurred at all temperatures tested from 4 degrees to 37 degrees C but the rate was lowest at 4 degrees C. At 37 degrees C, binding was accompanied by endocytosis and the beads were found inside vesicles which appeared to be lysosomes. There was also release of radioactivity from radiolabeled CIG beads during incubation with the cells at 37 degrees C. Binding of CIG beads to cells did not require divalent cations. Finally, the cell receptor for CIG beads was lost after cell trypsinization. The data are discussed in terms of current ideas about the basis for cell adhesion.

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