A novel procedure that detects adhesive proteins in complex mixtures was used to characterize such proteins in plasma. The proteins are separated by SDS PAGE and transferred to nitrocellulose filters. Cells incubated on these filters attach to those proteins that have adhesive properties. When applied to human plasma proteins this procedure reveals, in addition to fibronectin, a cell-attachment protein with a polypeptide molecular weight of 70,000. Using a monoclonal antibody that inhibits attachment of cells to fibronectin, we show that this polypeptide is not a fragment of fibronectin and we present evidence that it is a component of the serum spreading factor. Therefore, as defined by our assay, this protein and fibronectin are the major attachment proteins for fibroblastic cells in plasma or serum.

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