We have investigated the interactions of purified radiolabelled hepatitis A virus (HAV) with a variety of continuous cell lines. Virus labelled either in vitro with radiolabelled iodine or in vivo with radiolabelled uridine bound to cells with similar efficiency. Attachment to BS-C-1 cells was calcium ion-dependent and this correlated with infectivity assay results. The cell tropism of HAV attachment was examined using cell suspensions and confluent cell monolayers at both 4°C and 37°C. The maximum level of attachment was observed at 4°C with cells in suspension, but was severely inhibited by 2% foetal calf serum; these results again correlated with infectivity assays. The components of serum which inhibit attachment have been characterized by gel filtration chromatography, sucrose density gradient analysis, immunoprecipitation and Western blotting. The data show that such components are of high M(r) and that the serum glycoprotein, α2-macroglobulin, can partly mimic the inhibitory effect of whole serum.