Affinity chromatography was used to identify a putative cell surface receptor for fibronectin. A large cell-attachment-promoting fibronectin fragment was used as the affinity matrix, and specific elution was effected by using synthetic peptides containing the sequence Arg-Gly-Asp, which is derived from the cell recognition sequence in the fibronectin cell attachment site. A 140 kd protein was bound by the affinity matrix from octylglucoside extracts of MG-63 human osteosarcoma cells and specifically eluted with the synthetic peptide Gly-Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser-Pro. The 140 kd protein was labeled by cell surface specific radioiodination and became incorporated into liposomes at a high efficiency. Liposomes containing this protein showed specific affinity toward fibronectin-coated surfaces, and this binding could be selectively inhibited by the synthetic cell-attachment peptide but not by inactive peptides. Affinity chromatography on wheat germ agglutinin-Sepharose showed that the 140 kd protein is a glycoprotein and, in combination with the fibronectin fragment chromatography, gave highly enriched preparations of the 140 kd protein. These properties suggest that the 140 kd glycoprotein is a membrane-embedded cell surface protein directly involved in the initial step of cell adhesion to fibronectin substrates.