Abstract Crystals of the fiber protein of adenovirus type 2 have been grown. Analysis of these crystals (type I crystals) showed that they were composed of fiber polypeptide with a lower apparent molecular weight (60 kDa) than that of the soluble or virion-incorporated fiber (62 kDa). N-terminal sequencing revealed that the fiber polypeptide chain of 60 kDa was cleaved at tyrosine 17 from the Wend. The C-terminus remained intact. Assays with protease inhibitors suggested that the spontaneous cleavage of the fiber occurring upon its crystallization was due to a cellular, calcium-dependent, chymotrypsin-like protease co-purifying with the fiber and activated during hydroxyapatite chromatography. Crystallization of fiber purified in the presence of chymostatin provided crystals of a different structure under the electron microscope (crystals of type II), composed of 62-kDa fiber polypeptide units. The 62-kDa fiber from the type II crystals, as well as the 62-kDa fiber isolated from infected cell extracts, were able to associate with the penton base in vitro to form a penton capsomer. The 60-kDa fiber has lost this capacity. The accessibility of the N- and C-termini of the fiber inside the penton structure was probed by anti-peptide sera after limited proteolysis. The results are consistent with a polarity of the fiber in which its N-terminus is oriented toward the penton base, the C-terminal domain corresponding to the distal knob.