Two characteristics of cell surface molecules involved in the regulation of cell proliferation are altered expression in relation to growth phase in normal cells and overexpression in transformed cells. Here, we describe a similar pattern of expression for a 130-kD cell surface glycoprotein (gp 130) in human cells. Synthesis and cell surface expression of gp130 were greatly increased in both virally and chemically transformed fibroblasts, fibrosarcomas, a squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, and T cell leukemia lines. Furthermore, gp130 expression was induced in serum-starved fetal fibroblasts by serum stimulation, and in fresh T cells by various activating agents. Expression in response to serum stimulation was associated primarily with the transition from a quiescent state (G0) into the cell cycle (G1).