The host cell receptor for Moloney murine leukemia virus was solubilized from murine L-cell membranes and characterized. In initial studies designed to identify a receptor-rich cell line, different mouse cells were screened for binding to Moloney gp70, the viral envelope glycoprotein which determines host cell-binding specificity. gp70 binding to murine L cells was specific and saturable, with an apparent affinity constant (Ka) of 4 X 10(8) M-1, and the number of receptors per cell (6 X 10(5)) was similar to that of other mouse fibroblast cell lines. Characterization of the gp70 receptor with regard to extraction by detergents, protease sensitivity, and heat denaturation suggests that the receptor is an intrinsic membrane protein. Upon extraction of L-cell membranes with 0.2% deoxycholic acid and precipitation with acetone, specific and saturable binding of gp70 could be detected. The solubilized gp70-binding component was eluted upon gel filtration on Sephacryl S-300 into a species with an approximate molecular weight of 110,000.