Using solution binding assays, we found that a 45-kDa fragment of desmin, lacking 67 residues from the N terminus, could specifically associate with avian erythrocyte nuclear envelopes but not with plasma membranes from the same cells. It was also observed that a 50-kDa desmin peptide, missing 27 C-terminal residues, retained the ability to bind to both membrane preparations. Displacement experiments with an excess of purified vimentin suggested that the two desmin derivatives were interacting with a previously identified vimentin receptor at the nuclear envelope, the protein lamin B [Georgatos, S. & Blobel, G. (1987) J. Cell Biol. 105, 117-127]. Additional analysis by affinity chromatography confirmed this conclusion. Employing an overlay assay, we demonstrated that the 50-kDa fragment, but not the 45-kDa desmin peptide, was capable of interacting with the plasma membrane polypeptide ankyrin (a known vimentin attachment site), as was intact vimentin. Conversely, the nuclear envelope protein lamin B was recognized by both fragments but not by a chymotryptic peptide composed solely of the helical rod domain of desmin. These data imply that the lamin B-binding site on desmin resides within the 21 residues following its helical rod domain, whereas the ankyrin-associating region is localized within its N-terminal head domain, exactly as in the case of vimentin.