Ng-CAM is a cell adhesion molecule mediating neuron-glia and neuron-neuron adhesion via different binding mechanisms. While its binding can be homophilic as demonstrated by the self-aggregation of Ng-CAM coated beads (Covaspheres), Ng-CAM has also been shown to bind to glia by a heterophilic mechanism. In the present study, we found that the extent of Ng-CAM Covasphere aggregation was strongly diminished in the presence of the extracellular matrix glycoprotein laminin. When proteolytic fragments of laminin were tested, the P1' fragment (obtained from the short arms by pepsin treatment) was found to inhibit aggregation of Ng-CAM-Covaspheres while the elastase fragments E3 and E8 (from the long arm) were ineffective. To provide other means of analyzing interactions between laminin and Ng-CAM, the two proteins were covalently linked to differently fluorescing Covaspheres and tested for coaggregation. Laminin-Covaspheres coaggregated with Ng-CAM-Covaspheres, and this binding was inhibited both by anti-Ng-CAM and by anti-laminin antibodies. Covaspheres coated with other proteins including BSA and fibronectin did not coaggregate with Ng-CAM-Covaspheres. Moreover, using a solid phase binding assay, we found that 125I-labeled Ng-CAM bound to laminin and to Ng-CAM but not to fibronectin. The results suggest that regions in the short arms of laminin can bind to Ng-CAM. To test whether Ng-CAM present on neurons could be involved in binding to laminin, adhesion of neurons to substrates coated with various proteins was tested in the presence of specific antibodies. Anti-Ng-CAM Fab' fragments inhibited neuronal binding to laminin but not binding to fibronectin. The combined results open the possibility that Ng-CAM on the surface of neurons may mediate binding to laminin in vivo, and that interactions with laminin can modulate homophilic Ng-CAM binding.