Talin is a 225,000-Dalton protein we have purified from smooth muscle. In chick embryo fibroblasts talin is found in adhesion plaques (focal contacts), areas where the cell is closely apposed to the substratum. In comparison with other cytoskeletal proteins, we found talin to be unusually susceptible to proteolysis and have identified a 190,000-Dalton proteolytic fragment of talin in the immunoblots of many tissues. These observations raised the possibility that the cleavage of talin to this fragment has physiological relevance. One system that we have investigated in which significant proteolysis occurs is platelets. During platelet activation several high-molecular-weight proteins are cleaved to lower-molecular-weight forms. Here we demonstrate that talin is closely related to one of these platelet high-molecular-weight proteins, P235. The purification of talin is comparable to that developed for P235, and the two proteins have similar biophysical properties. In addition, antibodies raised against chicken gizzard talin recognize P235 in purified form as well as in crude platelet extracts. The platelet protein also resembles smooth-muscle talin in its susceptibility to endogenous proteolysis: P235 is rapidly cleaved to a 190-200 kD polypeptide by a calcium-activated protease found in platelet extracts. Moreover, partial proteolysis of P235 and talin with chymotrypsin, elastase, or trypsin also generates remarkably similar one-dimensional peptide maps. Because of their similar biophysical properties, immunological crossreactivity, and similar one-dimensional partial peptide maps, we conclude that P235 is the platelet form of talin.