Complex formation between the human erythrocyte transglutaminase (protein-glutamine:amine gamma-glutamyltransferase, EC 188.8.131.52) and fibronectin or its fragments was examined by immunoanalytical procedures and by fluorescence polarization. A 42-kDa gelatin-binding structure, obtained from human plasma fibronectin by thermolytic digestion, showed as high an affinity for the cytosolic enzyme as the parent fibronectin chains themselves. A 21-kDa fragment comprising type I modules 8 and 9, the last two modules in the 42-kDa fragment, bound with an affinity 100-fold less than the 42-kDa fragment. Binding was remarkably specific and could be exploited for the affinity purification of transglutaminase directly from the hemoglobin-depleted erythrocyte lysate. In spite of the high affinity, it was possible to elute active enzyme from the 42-kDa fragment column with 0.25% monochloroacetic acid. This solvent might have general applicability in other systems involving separation of tightly bound ligands.