Glycosyl phosphatidylinositol-anchored glycoproteins of the immunoglobulin superfamily play an important role in the formation of neuronal networks during development. The mechanism whereby neuronal GPI-linked molecules transduce recognition signals remains to be established. Analysis of detergent-resistant immune-complexes reveals that the glypiated neuronal cell adhesion molecule contactin/F11 specifically complexes with the cytoplasmic, nonreceptor type src-family tyrosine kinase Fyn. Antibody-mediated cross-linking of contactin/F11 on embryonic chick neuronal cells leads to an increase of the Fyn-activity coprecipitated with contactin/F11, and elevates phosphorylation of an additional 75/80 K component within the contactin/F11-immune-complex. Additionally, binding of ligands, i.e., contactin/F11-specific antibody or tenascin-R, a natural ligand of contactin/F11, to the surface of HeLa transfectants expressing contactin/F11, causes capping of contactin/F11 and a concomitant change in the distribution of the intracellular kinase Fyn, thus confirming their physical association. This indicates that contactin/F11-mediated signaling requires Fyn.