Bovine parvovirus (BPV), an autonomous parvovirus, haemagglutinates human type O erythrocytes and infects certain bovine cells in culture. Little is known about the receptor to which it attaches, either on nucleated host cells or on erythrocytes. Haemagglutination assays and radiolabelled virus-binding tests measuring the effects of trypsin, chymotrypsin, neuraminidase, phospholipase C and sodium periodate on attachment of BPV to receptors indicated that BPV interacted with N-acetylneuraminic acid-containing (sialyl) glycoproteins. SDS-polyacrylamide gel separation of erythrocyte ghost proteins and virus overlay protein-binding revealed BPV binding to glycophorin A. Confirmation testing showed BPV binding to purified glycophorin A on dot blots and on gels containing membrane glycophorin A and purified glycophorin A. Further, in competition assays, purified glycophorin A completely inhibited the BPV haemagglutination reaction. The results of this study indicate that BPV binds to sialated membrane glycoproteins, one of which is the major erythrocyte membrane glycoprotein, glycophorin A.