Calcium-dependent cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) mediate intercellular adhesion in epithelial cells and in preimplantation mammalian embryos. One of these molecules, cell-CAM 120/80, is found on cells as a 120-kd membrane glycoprotein and as a soluble 80-kd species in conditioned culture medium [Damsky et al: Cell 34:455, 1983]. We have purified to homogeneity the soluble 80-kd fragment of cell-CAM 120/80 by using monoclonal antibody affinity chromatography. We have shown that the purified molecule can disrupt cell-cell adhesion in cultured epithelial cells, thus indicating that it is directly involved in the adhesive process. In addition, we have further characterized both the 120-kd cell-associated molecule and its 80-kd fragment, including N-terminal sequence analysis.