A membrane-associated binding protein for 3,3',5-triiodo-L-thyronine (T3) was purified to apparent homogeneity from A431 human epidermoid carcinoma cells. A431 cells were specifically labeled with the N-bromoacetyl derivative of T3 labeled with 125I at the 3' position (BrAc[125I]T3) and were extracted with 3-[3-(cholamidopropyl)dimethylammonio]-1-propanesulfonate (CHAPS), a zwitterionic detergent. The solubilized BrAc[125I]T3-labeled protein was successively purified by chromatography on Sephadex G-200 and QAE-Sephadex followed by NaDod-SO4/PAGE. Approximately 0.2 mg of purified protein was obtained from 2.5 X 10(9) cells, which represents a 3000-fold purification. The membrane-associated T3 binding protein is an acidic protein with a pI of 5.1 and an apparent molecular mass of 55,000 daltons determined by NaDodSO4/PAGE. Polyclonal antibodies against the 55-kDa protein were prepared and used in indirect immunofluorescence to show that the 55-kDa protein was mainly found in the nuclear envelope and endoplasmic reticulum.