Human S-protein (vitronectin) and hemopexin, two structurally related plasma proteins of similar molecular mass and abundance, were analyzed for tyrosine sulfation. Both proteins were synthesized and secreted by the human hepatoma-derived cell line Hep G2, as shown by immunoprecipitation from the culture medium of [35S]methionine-labelled cells. When Hep G2 cells were labelled with [35S]sulfate, S-protein, but not hemopexin, was found to be sulfated. Half of the [35S]sulfate incorporated into S-protein was recovered as tyrosine sulfate. The stoichiometry of tyrosine sulfation was approximately two mol tyrosine sulfate/mol S-protein. Examination of the S-protein sequence for the presence of the known consensus features for tyrosine sulfation revealed three potential sulfation sites at positions 56, 59 and 401. Tyrosine 56 is the most probable site for stoichiometric sulfation, followed by tyrosine 59 which appears more likely to become sulfated than tyrosine 401. Tyrosines 56 and 59 are located in the anionic region of S-protein which has no homologous counterpart in hemopexin. We discuss the possibility that tyrosine sulfation of the anionic region of S-protein may stabilize the conformation of S-protein in the absence of thrombin-antithrombin III complexes and may play a role in its binding to thrombin-antithrombin III complexes during coagulation.