Sperm protein 17 (Sp17) is a highly conserved mammalian protein present on acrosome-reacted sperm that is thought to promote fertilization by binding sulfated carbohydrates of the oocyte zona pellucida. Although Sp17 was originally described as a testis-specific antigen, emerging evidence indicates that it may be more ubiquitously expressed than was previously thought. With the use of a specific antiserum, Sp17 was found to be present on the surface of malignant lymphoid cells, including B- and T-lymphoid cell lines, and on the surface of primary cells isolated from 2 patients having B-lymphoid tumors. Surprisingly, circulating B lymphocytes isolated from healthy volunteers also expressed Sp17, while circulating T lymphocytes exhibited only very weak expression. The role of Sp17 in promoting lymphoid cell adhesion was addressed with the use of recombinant Sp17 (rSp17). The rSp17 binds to the surface of myeloma cells but not to cells pretreated with heparitinase, an enzyme that removes heparan sulfate from the cell surface. Moreover, rSp17 promotes extensive aggregation of cells that express the syndecan-1 heparan sulfate proteoglycan, but in contrast, cells lacking syndecan-1 expression fail to aggregate in the presence of rSp17. These findings suggest that Sp17 promotes heparan sulfate-mediated cell aggregation and thereby plays a role in regulating adhesion and migration of normal and malignant lymphocytes. © 2001 by The American Society of Hematology.