ADP-ribosylation of proteins was analyzed by in vivo labeling of cells with [3H]adenosine, followed by separation of their protein components by two-dimensional isoelectric focusing/NaDodSO4 polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. We show here that in several cell types of avian and mammalian origin the major [34H]adenosine acceptor in vivo is a polypeptide with a Mr of 83,000 and isoelectric point of approximately equal to 5.3. This polypeptide is identical to one of the stress-inducible and glucose-regulated proteins (here called SP83) previously described in avian and mammalian cells. Snake venom phosphodiesterase digestion of purified 3H-labeled SP83 releases 5'-AMP and a minor fraction of 2'-(5"-phosphoribosyl)-5-AMP. In vitro labeling with [32P]NAD+ of total cell lysates made in the presence of non-ionic detergents also results in incorporation of radioactivity into SP83. Both of these results strongly suggest that the modification is an ADP-ribosylation. Heat shock and glucose starvation of cells induce a rapid and extensive decrease in the incorporation of ADP-ribose into SP83, suggesting that ADP-ribosylation may be important for the regulation of the function of this protein.