Purified alpha 2 beta 1 integrin from human platelets was compared in its function and immunoreactivity to alpha 2 beta 1 from endothelial cells. Both alpha 2 beta 1 integrins bound to type I collagen-Sepharose and had indistinguishable immunoreactivities when analyzed by a panel of monoclonal and polyclonal alpha 2-specific antibodies. However, functional analysis using rechromatography of purified receptors on laminin and collagen-Sepharose showed that endothelial alpha 2 beta 1 was able to bind to laminin, whereas its counterpart from platelets did not. Moreover, a receptor binding assay indicated that, in contrast to platelets, endothelial cells might also use alpha 2 beta 1 to bind to fibronectin. These results suggest that the alpha 2 beta 1 binding specificity may be modulated by cell-type specific factors.