Various studies have shown that mannose receptors rapidly eliminate glycoproteins and microorganisms bearing high mannose-type carbohydrate chains from the blood circulation. The purpose of this study was to characterize the mannose receptor in the liver, which in vivo is involved in the rapid clearance of tissue-type plasminogen activator from the circulation. Human liver membranes were solubilized in Triton X-100, and the solution was applied to a tissue-type plasminogen activator Sepharose column. Bound proteins were eluted with ethylenediaminetetraacetate (10 mmol/L). A second, similar purification step rendered a single liver protein of 175,000 daltons. A combination of ligand blotting and a chromogenic assay for tissue-type plasminogen activator demonstrated that the identified liver protein is a mannose receptor because it bound tissue-type plasminogen activator, this tissue-type plasminogen activator binding being fully inhibited by 0.2 mol/L D-mannose. Western-blot analysis revealed that the isolated liver protein is immunologically identical to the human mannose receptor from placenta. Treatment of the liver protein and the placenta mannose receptor with trypsin yielded the same pattern of proteolytic degradation products as identified on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. We conclude that the physiologically relevant mannose receptor for tissue-type plasminogen activator clearance isolated from human liver is immunologically and structurally similar to or identical with the human mannose receptor isolated from placenta.