We have investigated the synthesis, accumulation, and secretion of laminin, an extracellular matrix glycoprotein, during differentiation of the C2 mouse skeletal muscle cell line in culture. Myoblasts actively synthesized laminin, as measured by incorporation of [35S]methionine and by a dot-immunobinding assay. In myoblast cultures laminin accumulated in an intracellular compartment and could be extracted with a physiological salt solution containing the detergent Triton X-100. After the culture medium was replaced to promote differentiation of myoblasts to myotubes, laminin synthesis was increased, and laminin began to accumulate in the medium in soluble form. During differentiation, laminin also accumulated in an insoluble cell-associated fraction that required guanidinium chloride for extraction. Indirect immunofluorescence and immunobinding assays showed that myotubes but not myoblasts contained laminin on their external surface. The time course of increase in surface laminin paralleled that of the accumulation of insoluble laminin. These results suggest that the insoluble fraction represents laminin bound to the extracellular matrix at the cell surface. Our experiments demonstrate, contrary to previous observations, that myotube cultures synthesize and accumulate laminin, and further, that the differentiation of proliferating myoblasts to multinucleated myotubes is accompanied by increased laminin synthesis, by secretion of laminin into the medium, and by the deposition of laminin into an extracellular matrix on the myotube surface.