Fibrin clot retraction may be important in resolution of thrombi and, in platelets, is mediated by integrin alpha IIb beta 3 (GPIIb-IIIa). Nucleated cells that lack alpha IIb beta 3 can retract fibrin clots, and we now report that integrin alpha v beta 3 can support this process. In addition, we compared the capacities of recombinant beta 3 integrins to mediate clot retraction in Chinese hamster ovary and M21 melanoma cells. We found that alpha v beta 3, but not alpha IIb beta 3, could spontaneously support retraction. Transferring the cytoplasmic domain of alpha v to alpha IIb enabled the resulting chimeric alpha IIb beta 3 to support clot retraction. The capacity of the alpha v cytoplasmic domain to support clot retraction was not caused by activation of the ligand binding function of alpha IIb beta 3 or by enhancement of alpha IIb beta 32s capacity to stimulate the formation of focal adhesions or the tyrosine phosphorylation of pp125FAK. These experiments define requirements for alpha IIb beta 3-mediating clot retraction, establish the capacity of alpha v beta 3 to mediate this process, and suggest differing functional roles of the alpha v and alpha IIb cytoplasmic domains.