Nidogen and laminin were localized at preimplantation stages of mouse development by immunofluorescence. Laminin was already present on the cell surface at the 2-cell stage, while nidogen was first detectable on compacted 8- to 16-cell stage morulae. Nidogen and laminin colocalized at the blastocyst stage and in postimplantation basement membranes. Immunoblot analyses of tissue extracts and cell culture media indicated the 150-kDa form of nidogen as the largest and predominant form in all tissues examined. Radiolabeled nidogen and laminin synthesized by Reichert's membrane were coprecipitated by antibodies against each antigen, indicating complex formation in situ. Equimolar amounts of laminin and nidogen were determined in 6 M guanidine X HCl extracts of tissues by radioimmunoassays, further indicating stoichiometric complexes. However, lower levels of nidogen than laminin were found in tissue and cell culture media. A less than 2-fold increase in nidogen was found when F9 cells were stimulated to differentiate with retinoic acid and dibutyryl cAMP, compared to a 30-fold increase in laminin secretion.