The interaction of DNA with type I to VI collagens and laminin was studied in vitro in systems in which the connective tissue components were immobilized, as well as when in solution. In studies on immobilized components, significant binding of DNA was observed only for type V collagen, and the binding of radiolabeled DNA to this component could be effectively inhibited in a concentration-dependent manner by the addition of unlabeled DNA. Similar results were observed in solution assays in which it was observed that DNA binding to type V collagen was dependent on the native triple-helical conformation of the collagen. The preferential binding of DNA to native type V collagen may be due to the relative basicity of type V collagen chains, as well as the unique spatial arrangement of amino acid side chains in the native molecules. The data are of potential clinical relevance in that binding of DNA to type V collagen may represent at least one component of the mechanism whereby DNA and its immune complexes are deposited in connective tissues in certain pathologic conditions.