To identify potential cell surface receptors for chicken cytotactin (CT), we have characterized the ability of recombinant fusion proteins spanning the proximal fibronectin (FN) type III repeats of the molecule to support attachment of glioma and carcinoma cell lines. The third FN type III repeat, which contains the RGD tripeptide, supported cell attachment and cell spreading; however, mutation of RGD to RAD did not result in significant loss of either activity. In addition, the same repeat of mouse CT, which contains a natural mutant, RVD, also supported cell attachment and spreading, although at a lower level; both activities were increased by mutation of the RVD sequence to RGD. Studies utilizing RGD-containing peptides and well-characterized antibodies to integrins indicated that cell attachment to the third FN type III repeat was mediated by at least two different integrin receptors of the alpha v subtype. Additional cellular receptors may also be involved in cell attachment to CT. For example, an antibody to the beta 1 subfamily of integrins partially inhibited binding of cells to intact CT but did not inhibit cell binding to the third FN type III repeat. These findings suggest that the RGD site in CT is able to mediate cell attachment to integrins and thus is not a cryptic adhesion site. They also open the possibility that the functions of CT in processes such as counteradhesion, cell migration, cell proliferation, and cell differentiation may be mediated in part by interaction with multiple integrins.