Adhesion of Penicillium marneffei conidia to the extracellular matrix protein laminin via a sialic acid-dependent process has previously been demonstrated. This study describes the interaction of P. marneffei conidia with fibronectin and examines the relationship of this process to the recognition of laminin via conidia. Immunofluorescence microscopy demonstrated that fibronectin bound to the surface of conidia and to phialides, but not to hyphae, in a pattern similar to that reported for laminin. Conidia were able to bind to fibronectin immobilized on microtiter plates in a concentration-dependent manner. However, binding to fibronectin (at any given concentration of protein and conidia) was less than that to laminin under equivalent conditions. Soluble fibronectin and antifibronectin antibody inhibited adherence of conidia to fibronectin in the plate adherence assay; soluble laminin also caused pronounced inhibition. Various monosaccharides and several peptides had no effect on adherence to fibronectin. However, N-acetylneuraminic acid abolished adherence to fibronectin, indicating that the interaction was mediated through a sialic acid-dependent process; the latter parallels observations of laminin binding by conidia. Fibronectin binding (and binding of laminin) was considerably reduced by prolonged preincubation of conidia with chymotrypsin, suggesting the protein nature of the binding site. Conidia from older cultures were more adherent to both immobilized fibronectin and laminin than conidia from younger cultures. Ligand affinity binding demonstrated the presence of a 20-kDa protein with the ability to bind both fibronectin and laminin. There would therefore appear to be a common receptor for the binding of fibronectin and laminin on the surface of P. marneffei, and the interaction described here maybe important in mediating attachment of the fungus to host tissue.