We have recently described a monoclonal antibody (mAb) 4G4 recognizing a 70-kD molecule constitutively expressed on human endothelial cells and on subpopulations of lymphocytes. We showed that this molecule, which we named lymphocyte-vascular adhesion protein 2 (L-VAP-2), mediates lymphocyte adhesion to cultured endothelial cells. Protein sequencing of tryptic peptides from immunoaffinity-purified L-VAP-2 revealed sequence identity between L-VAP-2 and CD73 (ecto-5'-nucleotidase, E.C.184.108.40.206), and COS cells transfected with a CD73 cDNA were positively stained with the mAb 4G4, which recognizes L-VAP-2. mAb 4G4 was also able to partially inhibit the ecto-5'-nucleotidase activity of peripheral blood lymphocytes. Moreover, cross-precipitation studies performed with mAb 4G4 and a CD73 workshop mAb 1E9 showed that these two antibodies recognize the same molecule. Since the tissue distribution and biochemical characteristics of the two molecules are also similar, we conclude that L-VAP-2 and CD73 are the same glycoprotein. Adhesion experiments showed significantly increased binding of freshly isolated lymphocytes to COS cells transfected with a CD73 cDNA, as compared to mock-transfected COS cells, and binding of lymphocytes to CD73-expressing COS cells was inhibited by the presence of mAb 4G4 in the adhesion assay. CD73 is a glycosyl phosphatidylinositol-linked molecule previously shown to have a cosignalling role in T lymphocyte proliferation. Our data suggest that it also has a function in mediating lymphocyte adhesion to the endothelium.