S-Protein/vitronectin is a serum glycoprotein that inhibits the lytic activity of the membrane attack complex of complement, i.e., of the complex including the proteins C5b, C6, C7, C8, and C9n. We show that intact S-protein/vitronectin or its cyanogen bromide generated fragments also inhibit the hemolysis mediated by perforin from cytotoxic T-cells at 45 and 11 microM, respectively. The glycosaminoglycan binding site of S-protein/vitronectin is responsible for the inhibition, since a synthetic peptide corresponding to a part of this highly basic domain (amino acid residues 348-360) inhibits complement- as well as perforin-mediated cytolysis. In the case of C9, the synthetic peptide binds to the acidic residues occurring in its N-terminal cysteine-rich domain (residues 101-111). Antibodies raised against this particular segment react 25-fold better with the polymerized form of C9 as compared with its monomeric form, indicating that this site becomes exposed only upon the hydrophilic-amphiphilic transition of C9. Since the cysteine-rich domain of C9 has been shown to be highly conserved in C6, C7, and C8 as well as in perforin, the inhibition of the lytic activities of these molecules by S-protein/vitronectin or by peptides corresponding to its heparin binding site may be explained by a similar mechanism.