A 39/34-kilodalton (kDa) monomeric dispase fragment of von Willebrand factor (vWF) has been purified by heparin affinity chromatography. Detailed structural analysis of the individual 39- and 34-kDa fragments indicated that they had identical amino acid sequences extending from Leu-480/Val-481 to Gly-718 with an intramolecular disulfide bond between Cys-509 and Cys-695. In addition to the binding site for heparin, the 39/34-kDa fragment also contained binding sites for collagen and for platelet membrane glycoprotein (GP) Ib. Unlike native vWF, the 39/34-kDa fragment bound to GP Ib without the requirement for a modulator but showed increased binding in the presence of botrocetin. The 39/34-kDa vWF fragment was cross-linked to intact human platelets by using the membrane-impermeable, homobifunctional cross-linking reagent bis(sulfosuccinimidyl) suberate. Two distinct cross-linked species of similar molecular weight (220/200 kDa, nonreduced; 190/175 kDa, reduced) were identified by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and autoradiography, consistent with the cross-linking of the 125I-labeled 39/34-kDa vWF fragment to GP Ib. The formation of these cross-linked species was enhanced 1.5–2.5-fold in the presence of the modulator botrocetin. The platelet membrane protein involved in cross-linking was shown unequivocally to be GP Ib since (i) neither cross-linked species was formed with Bernard-Soulier syndrome platelets, which genetically lack the GP Ib–IX complex, (ii) both cross-linked species were specifically immunoprecipitated by anti-GP Ib polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies, and (iii) the formation of the cross-linked species was completely inhibited only by those anti-GP Ib–IX complex monoclonal antibodies that inhibited vWF–GP Ib–IX complex interaction. Proteolysis of cross-linked platelets with endoproteinase Lys-C, which preferentially cleaves off the N-terminal peptide domain on the α-chain of GP Ib, indicated that the 39/34-kDa vWF fragment was cross-linked exclusively to this region of the GP Ib–IX complex.